An Open Letter: Dear Memory

Dear Memory,

There comes a time in a relationship when one can no longer continue to pretend all is well; sadly, this time has arrived with us. Even though you have been my closest companion for nearly 59 years, I can no longer keep silent on the hurtful and thoughtless habits that are now creeping in, threatening to destroy our relationship. What I am about to say may be difficult for you to hear but if we are to continue travelling along the same path together, then we must face our problems and make some effort towards resolving them. 

First of all, you should know that, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed your company and am grateful for all you do for me.  I love that you have enabled me to relive the evening my husband proposed to me in the orchard behind my parents’ house and our wedding in that lovely old church the following summer. I still recall my first time I saw the tiny bundle that is now our beautiful grown-up daughter. You keep so much of my past alive like a stream-of-consciousness movie available on demand. I will always appreciate you for that. 

Of course there have been times when I feel you could have overlooked my many blunders rather than parading them in front of me for years on end – like that awful party on the 11th January 1991 when I congratulated Jenny Walsh on finally getting pregnant. How was I to know she had eaten ten enormous Christmas dinners over ten consecutive days then had to do it all again for New Year. Actually, that poor woman deserved a medal for consuming those giant-sized portions – all for the sake of maintaining peace within the warring factions of her husband’s family. I mean, what does it say about them when they couldn’t even call a truce for Christmas! Thanks to you, I’ll never forget Jenny’s face when I patted her tummy and told her spring is a lovely time to have a baby! In fact, I still blame myself for the divorce. You know, it’s not kind of you to make me carry that kind of guilt! However, despite your meanness, I forgave you and have never held a grudge.

Recently though, things between us have deteriorated. Your various little oversights and notable absences have revealed a malevolence in your character that I never knew existed and it is beginning to trouble me much more than I’ve been willing to admit. I can’t help but wonder where you go when you are not with me. Did you honestly think I wouldn’t notice the increasing number of times you are absent? Perhaps you are getting tired of me. Sometimes I think I’m being paranoid, blowing this issue into something bigger than it is. Nevertheless, I feel strongly that it is not appropriate for you to keep wandering off without a word of where you are going or when you will return. 

You may feel that the specifics of my complaints are not justified. For example, I realise it isn’t the biggest problem in the world that every day this week you left me alone to search for my car keys or that you wouldn’t tell me the name of that handsome actor in the Star Wars movie, even though I’ve seen the film at least five times. I understand that these minor oversights may appear to be petty and insignificant musings to you. Maybe I’m demanding more of your time than is reasonable. This morning, however, I felt you finally crossed the line into meanness when you left me wandering around the house for an hour searching for my glasses. You knew I was wearing them and yet you didn’t bother to tell me; that was truly unkind of you. Have you any idea how stupid I felt when the postman pointed to them on my face? I can’t understand how you could do such a thing to me after all these years. What is worse, you knew I would miss my dental appointment and, again, you didn’t tell me! Is this malevolent streak to become a permanent feature of our relationship? Am I simply to hang around waiting for you to show up when it suits you?

Enough said! I shall close this missive, dear Memory, urging you to be more attentive and sensitive to my needs. I hope you will be moved by my concerns and will make an effort to change your behaviour. 

By the way, have you any idea where I left my handbag? I haven’t seen it since yesterday. 

Yours truly,


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