A Process for Recovering Memories
1. Recall a pleasant time in the past. Road trip with Miles, he was driving. I was looking out raptly onto a snowfield. He asked what I was looking at; I replied, “the sparkles in the snow”. He drove on about a quarter mile then stopped the car. He looked, and then said he’d never seen that before, which was hard for me to believe. Then he thanked me and a friend of mine for giving him perspectives he’d never had before.
2. Recall a building in which you once lived. Butter yellow house with white trim, edged in front with a low white brick fence with black wrought iron gates and rose bushes all around. Dichondra lawn and tropical plants. Prettiest house on the block. Pool in back. One storey, three bedroom, smallish house with a brick L-shaped fireplace with orange padded mats. There was a pool in the back. I shared a bedroom with my brother.
3. Recall a secret you once had. My father sexually molested me.
4. Recall a magical person from your childhood. George the gardener, he took us to Japanese art shows, brought us watercolors and a Buddha. Quiet, masterful worker. Everything thrived. He wore khaki and a round hat.
5. Recall an incident that filled you with dread. Laying alone on a gurney outside of an operating room, sure I had cancer, hoping to die in surgery.
6. Recall something dangerous you did when you were young. Got in a car with a stranger hoping to catch up to my bus which I had just missed. I was wearing a long, lace trimmed light blue dress and was going to meet a friend at the movies. The car was brown and the guy in the car was wearing plaid pants which were unzipped and he was fully revealed. He had crazy blue eyes.
7. Recall something sinful or bad you did as a child. For awhile, I enjoyed the sexual pleasure and the feeling of intimacy I got from the sexual relationship with my father.
8. Recall something that happened during a school vacation. Weeks at a time in a small cabin in the mountains of Crestline, CA. I loved the mismatched dishes. There was no phone or tv. There were stellar jays and gray squirrels. My dad would wake me up early to walk a mile into town and we would get bear claws. We spent days at Lake Gregory where tan women lolled about and the scent of baby oil perfumed the air. Music played from the snack bar where you could get frozen bananas or buckets and shovels for making sand castles. We played games around a big table and listened to records on our blue hi-fi record player. Once, after telling us stories of a murderer who was loose in the area, my parents went for a walk leaving my brother and I alone in the cabin. There were only 2 doors to the outside a rough hewn wooden front door with a bar and larch and a more conventional door in the back, opening directly onto the woods. My brother and I started hearing noises and remembering the stories we were terrified that the killer had gotten our parents and now were coming for us. Though he was three years younger than me and I think he was about 6 at that time, he told me to hide and he went and got a big knife from the kitchen. All we could hear was our own terrified breathing and the sounds of the doors as someone tried to open them. Of course it was our parents but we really believed it was “the killer” I have always remembered my brother’s bravery. We were at that cabin when Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. We listened on a transistor radio, except my dad who went to The Crash Inn Stagger Out bar to see it on television.
9. Recall something that happened in a classroom or schoolyard. I was on the playground at school when a migration of monarch butterflies swarmed in huge numbers across the playground. There were so many it was both beautiful and terrifying. Sometimes they looked like stained glass, fragile and fluttering, other times I was overwhelmed by being amidst so many INSECTS. And children were reacting in different ways, some charmed by the beauty, some seeing this as an opportunity to kill en masse. It was confusing and surreal.
10. Recall something that happened many years ago near a body of water. After more than 15 years of no partnered sex, I packed a bedspread for a drive up with My Favorite Person to see the stars at East Canyon. The sky was very dark and there were so many stars twinkling in the night. Miles and I laid next to one another on the bedspread close enough to the water to hear the murmur of the little waves. We had hoped to hear coyotes but there were none. And somehow, though I was very scared for many reasons, I broke that long sexless fast. I bled again like a virgin.
11. Recall your first romantic infatuation. There were infatuations before, but this was not one. This was the fairy tale true- love- at- first- sight- forever dream cherished by hopeless romantics the world over. It was a permanent, visceral change on all levels of my being and while it wasn’t reciprocal (though it had what some may call a good run) it persists for me and I fear it will “forever” whatever “forever” means. It was relatively short, but was the deepest, most influential relationship of my life. I never dreamed love could have so much agony in the mix.
12. Recall something funny that made you laugh happily. Something like that happens nearly every day with my current companion Bruce, who loves me just the way I am and who studies me like the speciwoman he says I am. It is a very good thing to love and be loved by a good man whose friendship and knowing has only deepened over the years we have been together. He can make me laugh till I cannot breathe and I make him laugh too.