Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I remember

I remember things.

I can recall people and events, conversations and song lyrics. I remember what my brother wore on the first day of 6th grade and the phone number of my best friend from elementary school (what’s up, 2925?!) It’s the details of things I remember, and the vestibular stuff—how it smelled, what songs were playing, how it felt. It makes for excellent stories and tender memories.

And so, I remember, on this day after summer solstice as time shrinks just a fraction and days begin to shorten, that on this day 30 years ago, I had my first kiss.

30 years. June 1986. The summer of Ferris Bueller and Top Gun and Jams and Howard Jones. It was a sweet kiss from a cute boy wearing a TransWorld t-shirt and smelling of April Fresh Downy. He was adorable and smart. I remember his phone number, still.

We were 14, so our romance, as it was, pretty much followed the vernacular of the times. He asked, “Will you go with me?”

I answered with an unequivocal, “Yes.” I did not bother to ask, “Where?”

That’s the thing about memories and time—just like after summer solstice, the days get shorter and there isn’t as much light. Last week, I was driving my daughter to the DMV to get her learner’s permit and NPR featured a story on the music of Finding Nemo. It was in preparation for the opening of Nemo’s sequel, Finding Dory. The sequel comes twelve years after we learned that Nemo was capable of navigating through the entire ocean to return safely where he belongs. Nemo was the first movie my daughter saw in a theater. She was three.

She drove us to the same theater to see Dory.

But I remember. I remember that tiny, fierce little one 13 summers ago, and I never dreamed the far away day would come when I would worry about her getting lost and navigating the entire ocean, even though I’ve always known I would search its depths endless times to find her.

What I don’t remember is how it happened so suddenly that I’m the parent, when just a brief moment ago, I was the one listening to V-100 radio and the boy dedicated a song to me. It was Glory of Love by Peter Cetera. I remember. (Kids, dedicating a song to someone back in 1986 was tantamount to “liking” their posts on social media.)

We’ve lived a lifetime in 30 years. God only knows what our paths have uncovered, what our journeys have brought. We lost touch during college, but through the miracle of Facebook I’ve reconnected with that boy who changed my summer of 1986, and changed me. He is married to a lovely person who adores him. She suffers from an autoimmune disease and he is her primary caregiver. They seem happy together. It makes me glad.

Anne Lamott says, “Remember, you own what happened to you.” And I do own every bit of it, each thing that happened to me.

Because I remember.