She told me that when I first came to live with them, not as their daughter, but as a foster child, I wasn’t interested in hugging them, cuddling them or even holding conversations with them; my only interest, lay in the kittens in the shed. “You spoke a lot of French”, she would say. “We couldn’t understand what you were saying.”
Of course, I don’t remember that time. I have memories of brief moments, fleeting images of people and places that I can’t pin down; glimpses into my past.
If you ask a person about their earliest memory, their head tilts back slightly, and their gaze turns upwards as they look inside, to the place they go to remember. “My earliest memory, let’s see….”
The sentence trails off as they search their brain until they can tell you exactly what that memory is. It doesn’t matter what comes to mind, whether it be a happy or terrible moment, they just remember. Watch their eyes as they return and replay that instant with the details incredibly whole, as if it were happening for the first time again.
Do we make those memories what they want them to be? Are they real?
I can tell you my memories are real, and they don’t dim over the years, and the scenes play out the same each time.
For it is the place where the war began.