I was visiting Katja and she led me to this short story by Bosnian writer Alexsandar Hemon. Although his writing style is a little frenzied and fragmented for me, he reminded me of many things in this short.
He describes his relationship in pre YU wars Sarajevo, with a poet and drinking partner nicknamed “Dedo” (Grandpa), and meeting him many years later in the U.S.
“He turned to me in a snap, as if I had just woken him up, and he did not smile. He didn't recognize me, of course. It was a painful moment, as the past was rendered both imaginary and false, as though I had never lived or loved. Even so, I introduced myself, told him how we used to drink together at the Writers' Home; how he used to sing beautifully; how often I had remembered those times. He still couldn't recall me. I proceeded with flattery: I had read everything he'd ever written; I admired him and, as a fellow-Bosnian, I was so proud of him—I had no doubt that a Nobel Prize was around the corner. He liked all that, and nodded along, but I still did not exist in his memory. I told him, finally, that he used to think I was a conductor. "Dirigent!" he exclaimed, smiling at last, and here I emerged into the light. "
This passage reminds me that memory is selective.
Some people loom so large for us, influence us, inspire us, screw us up, make us bitter and angry, while we have no impact on them whatsoever...and vice versa.
I have been told on occasion of things that were very important to other people that supposedly, I was deeply responsible for (good and bad) and I have absolutely NO recollection of what they remember in detail.
There are people who have come into my life that I connected such importance to, that I meant absolutely nothing to..and probably wouldn't remember me if we met again.
Our memories, and the things that we connect importance to are so very different, and I suppose we only choose to remember the things that gave us an actualization or affected us in some life altering way.
Good or bad.
I cannot count how many times I have relayed a memory to someone, only to be greeted with the blank stare of non-recollection.
Which immediately makes me doubt my own memory, but then I realize that we all have our own selective memories.
There are certain things I’ve done in my past that I would love memories of to stop sneaking up on me late at night. Those being the big ones that I acknowledge…never mind compounding them with things that other people have connected importance to that I am unaware of.
Forget some of the bad so that we can live with ourselves.
Forget some of the good so that we don’t get too swollen with our own importance.
Maybe this is really a blessing in the end.