Missing Memories

“Without a second thought she lied about everything, giving reality infinite leeway, the possibility of ceaseless metamorphosis.  She lied for the passion of the story; lying served her no other purpose.”   (Matalon, 142)

“Brittany’s right in front of you and Tommy’s on your left.”  My mother said upon showing me this photograph pointing out two of my childhood companions.  Brittany and I did everything together from 3 until she moved when I was 9.  She practically lived at our house…

“But where’s Megan?”  I responded looking at a photograph of a memory lost and a reality unknown.  Was my mother lying to preserve the “passion of the story” (Matalon, 142)?  This photograph seems unreal because there is no story or memory I can associate with it in my mind.

“I have another photograph with Megan in it.”  My mother responded.

Megan had been a fiery red headed troublemaker, who my mother did not like to host for play dates.  Ironically I had mixed Megan up with Melissa.  My own memory of what seems a fictitious moment (this photograph) is fallible.

“Not Megan, I mean Melissa.”

“I told you I have more photographs somewhere I just have to look for them.”  A year has passed and I have yet to see more photographs.

The only interaction I can make with this photograph is through my mother’s telling of its story and what Matalon calls the “figure” in the photograph, the sign in the front (Matalon,123).

“It is insistent, more definite than the pallid people in the photograph or the photographer’s uncertain intentions.” (Matalon,123).  For Matalon, a diagonal line through a photograph is more “definite” than the story told and the ambiguous details she associates with a photograph of members of her family in their adolescence on the Banks of the Nile.  For me, the sign in front tells me I am three and this photograph was taken at Kindercare.  The sign in front is definite.  It is also certain that I see a version of myself that I am unfamiliar with.  Am I angry or am I sad?  I do not recognize my own facial expression.

I do not remember taking this photograph, because I do not have a story to associate with it.  Although I am certain Brittany is the blonde in front of me, who is Tommy?  My mother says he’s the one to the left of me, but I have no recollection and no reason to believe her.  Are there really more photographs?  Where is Megan?  I mean Melissa.  Where is Melissa?

 Photograph of Melissa and I by the pool in her backyard

Melissa Gonzales had a big pool.  The only thing I remember about Melissa is that I went over her house for a play date and my mother let me bring chocolate cookies over.  I am certain we bought the cookies from a Shop Rite on route to her house, which is ironically closed down.  I ate almost all of the cookies, and Melissa’s father made me sit and digest the cookies before entering the pool.  He said I would get a cramp.  I don’t even remember Melissa being there.  Was it an in ground or above ground pool?  I only remember the story although I do not know why.  Did my mother remind me of my misbehavior? My memory of the place and time are ambiguous.  Yet, I am certain this moment existed for me.  I am also certain my mother has a photograph somewhere.  My memory of Melissa and the actual photograph are missing.  My mother is infamous for taking one too many photographs.  However, I cannot regain my recollection of Melissa’s presence at her own home.  Would a photograph trigger my memory?

Photograph of Melissa and I at Britney Spears Concert

It is ironic that the photographs of my first concert ever are missing.  I remember exactly what I wore, and can visualize several of the performances.  Melissa and my parents’ presence are hazy in my memory.  Yet, the posters and T-shirts I purchased are all the evidence I need of my own presence at this concert.  This is the last memory I have with Melissa even though I do not remember her being there.  My parents’ telling of the numerous stories at this concert makes this memory real.  My own memory is fallible and I even wonder about the trustworthiness of my parents’ memory.  However, I doubt a photograph of Melissa and I at this concert could salvage my memory of her.  She is an emblem of a reality lost and exists only through frail stories passed down.


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