19 October 2010

In the end, all we'll have left are the memories.
The flowers will have withered,
The pen's ink will have dried,
The fishes will have died,
And the pillows will have been left unhugged.
The phone numbers will have changed,
Words will have been left unsaid,
The little notes will have been thrown away,
And the other little tidbits, left neglected in a corner.
In the end, all we'll have left are the memories.

What is your biggest fear?

I freeze at the sight of big spiders; even a photo of the nasty creatures sends shivers down my spine. I clam up at robbery incidents and my heart stops at the sound of firetrucks' sirens. There are times I wake up with a start from nightmares involving running down long flights of stairs or falling from a tall building, trying to run away from an invisible monster.

All these pale in comparison to my greatest fear though, which is to be forgotten: to have all traces of myself removed, to not have any legacy to leave where other people can remember me by, to not have left a mark on people's lives.

My ultimate favorite movie of all time, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, touches on this. In the movie, Joel and Clementine have just broken up after one too many fights. Frustrated, impulsive Clem decides to have all of her memories of Joel erased. The procedure involves going through all of Clem's memories with the specified person and removing them one by one while she is in a coma-induced state. Before the said procedure is done, everything (gifts, letters, photos) that can remind you of the person you want to forget is collated and disposed. Friends are also advised of what will happen and asked never to mention said person on future conversations. Joel unfortunately learns of this though. Deeply hurt, he decides to go through the same procedure as well. While the "experts" are working on him where he is forced to rewind (in his head) everything he and Clem went through, he is reminded of his happy memories with Clem, realizes he still loves her, and that he does not want to do this anymore. He tries hard to wake up from his coma-induced state, and when that fails, to hide his memories of Clem in his other memories. I will not spoil the ending for those who might not have seen it yet, but I assure you it really is worth seeing.

Let me ask you a hypothetical question. Have you ever experienced anything that made you want to wish you can bury it deep in the recesses of your memory, never to be brought up again? Or, have you ever experienced having your heart broken so hard that it shatters you, that pain consumes you completely, that it makes you feel like nothing is worth living for anymore, that finding anything worth smiling about seems almost impossible? Have you ever experienced sleepless nights feeling hollow and alone, that even though you know you still have your friends and family with you, you know only one person can make everything alright (and you feel guilty for being ungrateful)? Have you ever looked at a mirror in your sorry state, only to see an unfamiliar person staring back at you and thinking no one can ever make you feel the same?  Given the choice and chance, would you opt to have all your memories of the person, therefore the cause of your misery and seemingly never-ending pain, erased?

I have. I have felt all this, and more. But I do not know of any existing memory-erasing companies like Lacuna Inc. where I can go to to have my memories erased. I just have time and my amazing support system at my side. Besides, even if I do have the luxury of having the said clinic nearby, I don't think I would have the courage and urgent need to go through with it. You see, some memories may be better best forgotten, but some, some are worthy to be kept going back to, if only to remember how happy we were once, and how capable of love we can be. Memories mean they are already part of the past; they cannot harm you anymore, if you don't let them. As one line in another of my favorite movies, Before Sunset, goes: "Memories are wonderful things if you don't have to deal with the past." In the end, all we'll have left are the memories, and I am happy to have made a mark.

Sigh. Rainy weather and hormones always make me sentimental.

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