Too White to Remember

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Narzissen by Pechstein Hermann Max

When I recall my childhood, things tend to appear in my mind in sunlit background, and everybody dear to me also tends to wear resplendent clothes. Those pictures in my mind are the amalgamation of those hot colors. And me there, was often a girl in bright colors exposed her arms to the sun without any awareness of sunburn.

That’s how my memory captures things, which is very unreasonable, very desultory.

But there’s a man who is framed in my mind in white. He is not special to me, he is not the one I love, he is just a man supposed to be forgotten among other things that are jumbled together in my old world. When things faded away due to my memory’s fraility, the last things of him remaining in my memory and my imagination are his white T-shirt, his light skin and his white tooth when he smiled. All the times, he was sitting on the porch of his house, with his mother there who was busy with selling things to my mother. I smiled at him as a greeting, because as for me at that time, greeting with a smile is the best way ever to express politeness. Then he smiled, then in a few minutes, I smiled again and then, he laughed saying: “She’s smiling!!”. “She’s smiling” – the only thing he said or the only thing I remember he said.

Even when all of a sudden I came across him in the crowd many years after and found his skin was getting weather-beaten, his appearance in my mind has never changed. Even when I heard he has taken his own life after all, I will never distort my own memory of him. But I’ve kept wondering how he rummaged his memory for the most wonderful pieces in his life, how he embraced them the last time and then left them nowhere in his imminent errant soul, if he really did this. What if he woke up the last time in the hospital, realizing he had nothing to miss but his own death.