“The First Poem I’ve Memorized” (2/25/2016)

Posted: October 12, 2017 in [Un] Spoken Word

You are the first poem I’ve memorized.

And believe me, I’ve written hundreds of stanzas and lines, and I’ve never been able to decently remember any of them. But you, you are the first ever to get stuck in my head, like a song played repeatedly, over and over, for the entire week.

You are the first poem I’ve memorized. The first image I’ve painted on my blank canvass that I’ve never forgotten a detail of. The picture that would eternally burn in my mind, embedded. Stamped. Imprinted upon my eyes forever.

Well, okay, perhaps you’re not getting the picture of how seriously weird this is. To give you an idea, I was never good at remembering things. I often forget why I have to log into FB, or what I had to buy in a grocery store. That’s why I always had to have a list at hand, so I won’t forget. And whenever I had to answer an algebraic problem, I always had to have a formula card with me—I wouldn’t have been able to answer any item otherwise. Not just that, but one time I even flunked a major exam in Advanced Chemistry because I couldn’t recall a single molecular formula of the organic compounds I’ve studied for that quarter. I simply couldn’t remember.

But you? You are… a set of formula I’d never have to hold a copy of. The only periodic table I’ve come to fully know by heart. I didn’t need a list to remember your name, your middle initial, your number, your smile, your laughter, your likes and dislikes, your pet peeves, your insecurities, what pisses you off, what makes you smile even if you’re not in the mood—your awkward posture? I didn’t need a prompter to memorize all of that.

I didn’t need anything to remind me of how your uneven footsteps approach the door, how your greeting would sound in the morning if you are in the mood—or how your silence would make me feel when I knew you were giving me that cold treatment. With just one look in your eyes I knew if you have your tales to share, or if you wanted to avoid me altogether. With just one glimpse at your face I knew if there was something wrong, if you were tired and exhausted, if you needed help and encouragement, or if you simply just wanted people out of your way. If you simply wanted me out of your way. You are the first poem I’ve come to fully know, to the last word, letter, punctuation.

But years passed, and as our only photograph started to fade as it lies in between the leaves of my journal, so you started to fade from my daily existence. Very subtly we have reached that forked road, and before I knew it you started walking towards the other direction, every step taking you farther and farther away from me.

But that’s okay, really. I mean, I understand. I completely understand that sometimes two people are really called out to tread entirely different paths. I understand that you have to follow yours and I have to follow mine. That’s alright. We were hardwired that way. Anyway, I told myself, I didn’t need to see you every day. I’ve known you by heart, remember? I’ve memorized everything about you, remember? Every preference, every weakness, every detail of your tone patterns, even the sound of your slightly uneven footsteps. Your entire being is a stamp branded permanently in my mind, so much that when one day our paths cross again, I know that despite all the beard and wrinkles you’d probably hide behind, it would take only a second for me to know it was you. So there I was, watching your figure get swallowed up by the darkness, content with the thought that when we meet again, I would still recognize you in a heartbeat.

And I did recognize you in a heartbeat. You now wore thicker glasses, your tone a little gruffer, your expression was even a little more serious. But looking past all the added layers of coats and ties, it was still you. I smiled radiantly and almost as a kid skipping and jumping with so much excitement, I approached you. “Hi! It’s so good to see you again after all this time! How I’ve missed—oh. I’m sorry. My name is Rebekah—umm, your classmate? Back in college? Fellow debater? And no, my name is so not spelled as R-E-B-E-C-C-A. It ends with K-A-H. Yes, of course, it’s alright. It’s been years anyway. You could not have remembered that. Yes, it’s been good to see you too.” And then you started walking away, without giving me so much as a second thought. Or even a second glance.

Of course, how could you have remembered how my name is spelled after all this time? How could you have remembered that we’ve used to share the same sentiments and insecurities, the same limitations in our capabilities, a couple of years back? How could you have remembered that we had so many things in common, you even started calling me your girl version? It’s not like we were fated to be similar—we were simply a coincidence. I realized that now. And it’s not like a coincidence would make so much of an impact.

But the thing is, I do remember you, and I do remember everything. I distinctly recall all the conversations we’ve had; no matter how seemingly insignificant our topics were. I do remember quite well all the times you confided to me and shared to me your deepest thoughts, your deepest fears. I do remember you and everything about you—to the last stanza, to the last word, to the last punctuation. And it’s just sad and anticlimactic, that the only poem I’ve memorized—doesn’t know me at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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