by Mahtab Kamali
I am in drama class. We are supposed to write about a vivid image of the past. In the background I hear someone reading a poem by Sylvia Plath. We are given some themes to choose from too: suitcase, home, religion….
I start to dig into my memories of home. I struggle to go through the old album of faded pictures and pick one that stands out, but there is nothing. My memory is blank like layers of cotton, white fluffy clean and full of hidden corners. All my memories of past homes are hidden with no trace of ever having existed.
It feels like I have never had a home that I settled in or maybe there was one but it was left behind somewhere on the way.
Like pilgrims who rest in shelters on their endless journeys.
Like brothers in arms who have fought alongside each other and after the war they part, escaping the bitter memories of the past.
When did I lose my connection to the past?
I know that I can reduce the pain of previous memories by re-narrating them. I know that I can even trick my mind by creating memories that never existed or wiping away unwanted memories.
I think for a second, maybe it is a memory malfunction and under the soft white blanket of cotton, there is a shiny colourful picture-perfect image of me surrounded by my smiling beautiful family, the one I left behind.
I have experienced sorrow and joy; I have experienced love and hatred; I have experienced success and failure, faith and isolation. I have experienced trust and betrayal.
Maybe I have to surrender to the present, this imageless, amnesiac state of my mind, this very moment of weightlessness like the river that washes and cleanses everything with no traces, where everything either floats or sinks and disappears, swallowed like it never existed.