Fall and forgetfulness

The tree outside my house becomes more autumnal by the day, and I just love it.

The tree outside my house becomes more autumnal by the day, and I just love it.

I have a good memory for the wrong things. I can never remember if my Advanced Legal Research class is at 12:20 or 12:40 on Mondays. I remember every word of long-deleted texts from men who no longer matter to me — or, more aptly, shouldn’t matter to me anymore.

I forget my lunch as I walk out of my apartment again, sprinting up the creaky, wooden stairs of my building to retrieve it before I’m late to Con Law II. Sometimes I run specific routes on purpose, remembering problems I ran away from, traumas I could only contend with knowing the pavement wouldn’t crumble under me, that it would hold me up and push me forward.

Friends and family have long said I have a good memory. I wonder what that means.

I can tell you all my friends’ birthdays off the top of my head; I don’t need a calendar alert.

I forget to wash fruit before I eat it all the time. Sorry, Mom.

Someone always has to remind me to grab my to-go box as I leave the restaurant.

What is having a good memory. Is it the ability to dwell less than I do. Is it sending every greeting card on time (or, in my college best friend’s case, accidentally sending it two days early).

I remember every word of the extended version of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song (you know, the one that aired only in the first couple episodes). Last week I drove all the way to Hy-Vee in the dark before I realized my windshield wasn’t foggy; I had just forgotten my glasses.

I think about memory a lot. Its unreliability, its tendency to highlight the things I least want to remember as if circling them again and again in thick, red, menacing ink.

Often I worry I’ve simply lost the ability to feel the full range of human emotions in law school. Everything is clouded by stress and occasional academic numbness, as I call it.

A good friend who’s planning a trip to Turkey messaged me last week for travel tips, and I remembered my time in my favorite city in the world, that life exists far beyond my carrel (what a concept!). Feeling something, anything, can be restorative in its advent.

It’s Tuesday morning. I’m sitting at my counter eating an apple I remembered to wash, for once.

I had forgotten how the air is at the start of fall, how it rushes in the windows, eager to give us tumbling leaves, deep breaths void of heavy humidity, a chance to start over, to feel a full range of human emotion.

How could I forget?

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