Looking through old photographs is like wading through cold pockets in a lake, or the fabled sensation of encountering a ghost and walking through the cold shock of its invisible, intangible body. You remember a time when that moment, the moment whose record you are witnessing, was the present, when everything pertaining to that moment, all of the details of feeling and circumstance, were what was happening to you NOW, and the amorphous future of which you were afraid had not yet become what it is to the version of yourself looking at the photograph. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this, but to me it’s fucking weird. I remember wearing my flowered baseball cap and walking to the bus stop from my job on Canotek road. Not just remember – I was JUST THERE. It’s unnerving. I was JUST in a dorm room with my face pressed against the window, watching the snow fall outside. I was JUST in love and hopeful and moving into a place with hardwood floors and a tree that bloomed white blossoms in the middle of September. I was JUST wearing my hair in French braids and performing at Academic Hall in the full heat of the summer, standing onstage opposite a brave and frightened man. J. gave me a beautifully lifelike stuffed toy of a pig, and a card congratulating me. I remember the air conditioning only worked inside the auditorium, and hauling the set pieces through the lobby to the stage was tiring and made us all sweaty. I remember Mary Jane did my makeup and made me far prettier than I had any right to be.
I think you get it. Needless to say, it’s weird. It’s surreal to lose pieces of your life, to have them fall out of your pockets when you’re not looking and when you finally turn around you realized you’ve walked so far away from them that the substance of them – the feel of someone’s skin or lips, the incredible fear before an act of vulnerability, the face you saw in the mirror on that day, at that moment- is gone.
Now I am small and still and blending into the background like a doll on a shelf.