June 17

by practicalspactical

I look at my phone and see the date June 17, no year, and think about the wonderful adaptation of memory loss — that the past does fade, that though the present may always be pregnant with the past, the past itself is less and less present itself as it goes farther back — and think of the terror I sometimes feel when I think about the passage of time, of how much time has gone between one moment in memory and Now, but think about how much greater that terror, that awe, that sorrow, would be if the total and full past was always there, always constant, so that when I look at the date June 17 on my phone, I see not only now, but June 17 a year ago, and June 17 two years ago, and three, and five, and seven, and twelve, and seventeen, yes, all the way back to June 17, 1997, when I was finishing up school, turning sixteen, getting ready for camp, getting my passport to get ready to go to Israel —

If that was the way we were, would we be strong enough for it, or would the loss of the past simply overwhelm us, utterly, completely, repeatedly, every moment of our lives?

Instead, with the toughened up and retrograde amnesia we call living, I look at June 17, and think, curious, there were other June 17s, and I think of last year’s, and that’s about the extent of it, and the sorrow of loss is brief, and small, and contained, and does not go further than it goes.