Code Key

January 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Why do we visit the memories of strangers? I listen to the thirteen-year-old girl on the floor above me. She now creates one of her future memories. She slams the door on her mother’s cries. I count down from ten. Now loud music interrupted by her sobs. I have the code key to this memory:

Every night, her mother, a single parent, opens the sofa in the living room, lies with a sigh on it and meticulously examines her nails. She never forgets to wear gloves when gardening at the cemetery, and yet her daughter won’t eat anything cooked by her anymore. “You have corpses under your nails.” She hasn’t slept with a man since ten years. Does she miss making love? She doesn’t know. She knows she’ll have more time to think about it. Her daughter, now a teenager, wants to go out, wants to buy trendy stuff, wants to secretly smoke, has probably already kissed a boy, for sure she’s already kissed a girl (she’d heard them giggling about it the other night). The girl is still doing well at school. She might have a better chance than she had. That is, if the girl doesn’t run away to marry the first scamp she meets, like she did. The job at the cemetery is the best job she’s ever had. When she started with it last year, her daughter was still her daughter and not this stranger in the next room. They celebrated together eating gelato and a few months later they bought their first car, a used VW-Polo. Hopefully her daughter’s memory will later include that too.

I listen to both women sobbing and I can’t help but think of my own box of memories. Who has the code key to it?


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