remembering ash.

I remember afternoons with Ashley. In her home, I felt at home. The hours would pass as I lay spread across the carpeted floor, studying the books on her shelf. There was no more calming feeling, and I felt truly loved. Not just by her, but by her mom, her sister, her Dad. 

For reasons I don’t understand, we don’t appreciate things very much when we have them. That is a lesson that no matter how many times you are told, you won’t understand until you experience it and look back. 

I never had any doubts about Ashley, even though I can say I am a chronically jealous person. But her love felt genuine. The only thing I doubted was my ability to make her happy, and perhaps hers to make me. As I have struggled with depression and self-doubt. But beyond that, it was perhaps the purest love. So today, I want to write a little bit about my favorite days that I shared with this beautiful person. 

We went on a hike somewhere in upstate New York, I remember it was still icy at a point, and I slid down the hill on my butt. I could have died, and I was known to give her mini-heart attacks because of my impulsivity. So I got to the bottom of the hill so fast, and then I waited. I remember seeing her figure when she slowly trekked down. From a distance, I marveled and thought to myself, I am going to marry this woman. 

As I write this, I have no doubt that Ashley would have made the best wife. We have similar mindsets when it comes to competitiveness. She really is a beautiful soul, a writer, someone who hasn’t had the easiest path, and so much of she reminds me of me. I think I just wasn’t ready because I was also scared. Besides, I’ve never really understood what it meant to love. Or, I’ve really struggled to put it in practice. 

Maybe one day, I will know. But I am happy knowing that I came this close. 

Today, my friend told me I should stop thinking about what went wrong in relationships and think about what went right. Well, I felt loved, a part of a family, brave, handsome, cheered on, smart, supported, understood. 

Today, I am grateful, and hoping to provide all of those things for myself.

i remember

Every sentence began with an I remember, connecting the past to the present by a bridge self-created. What we remember could be so different from the stories of others, yet the strength lies in their personality. Each person self-defines their personhood using fragments of memories, and there is perhaps no greater symbolic item for memory than the post-it note. That sticky, albeit easily torn sliver of paper – a fragment. 

In these fragments live empires, generations that span from the very beginning to who knows when. Because I remember the mornings when we were getting ready to go to school, and my mom would tie that last shoe so that I could walk, and she would have my books in my bag, and I would climb on her back so she could carry me to my school. I remember how I cried on my first day of school in kindergarten, and then again in first grade. Why should I be ashamed of that now? I know now things that I didn’t know then, that crying isn’t a sign of weakness – it is a sign of strong feelings, an overwhelming feeling that refuses to be contained, and demands nothing more than to express. Expressed feelings.

I remember that our teacher would have us try to write our names, and after a few weeks, there were only three or four of us who hadn’t yet learned their name. I remember that I didn’t think I was too smart, but what did smart really mean then? I had never been measured against anyone else, maybe my sister. My world was my mother, my sister, and the tv. So measurements, conceptually, were the thing that I remember first noticing. 

I probably remember walking down the hallways, where our work hung and was celebrated for our parents to see, and waiting in line for lunch. I remember pledging allegiance to the flag before I knew what that meant, but I remember not being alone – being with others who uttered the same. I remember so much of childhood, of sitting there on the corner of my bed with my neck craned up, playing video games. I remember when I’d climb up the 5 flights of stairs to see my grandma, my cousins, and my aunts and uncles. I remember, and I can’t go back too far, or see it all. The only things left are those fragments.