There’s a lot of memory you have to let go of. But the stuff you do let go of, the stuff that gets lost is mundane or even the haphazard light of a good time. I want to revisit those lost reels while I ready for bed. The billowing white curtains my mother bought to dress up her home highlighting the reel.
I studied painting very briefly. The professor became my advisor. He’d visit our little painting nooks with a few books he felt would memorialize our decision to take brush to canvas. So, on Saturdays, after spending Friday nights blaring everything- paint, music, codeine, beer- I’d help him and his son stretch canvasses. This is the future, I’d tell myself, as the thick smoke of his morning cigar cut through the hangover.
The prompt, as I’ve come to view it, could be the sleek line of a sedan from the Seventies, or the way the highway on and off ramps connect to old episodes of CHiPs, even the broken cathode television with its electronic guts spilled onto the dead grass beside the sidewalk. It could be the pattern a tree’s shadow makes on the front of an old German car. But what it really is, the prompt, is a catchall that sifts through chemicals to make lost moments return.
Now some nights I sit on a chair I got from a guy I no longer know and sip lemonade and smoke Honduran cigars or Dominicans as the security light from the building across the way starts its electrical chemical reductive hiss. This is not then, but then is also not this.
by Hank Cherry