I have conflicted feelings about my memory. It's very good. In fact, my husband is often astounded at the things I can remember, details and lines of dialog from movies or television shows I've seen once, in childhood. I can remember entire conversations that happened back before I came to Canada. At the same time, I can misplace my keys, or completely forget for days on end that I should pick up milk on the way home. I can remember the layout of every house I've lived in - and how each room was decorated - and that's no small feat for someone who has moved as many times as I have - but I get lost easily without a map when I first come to a new place. My sense of direction is atrocious. I can't draw from memory, but put something in front of me, and I can re-create it. Remembering something that embarrassed or saddened or made me happy at the time will make me feel the same way all over again. I can make myself laugh just by replaying funny moments. And then I'll forget the punchline to a joke I read five minutes ago.
So, my memory is excellent, except when it sucks. I suppose a lot of people are like that.
"A Razor in an Apple," by Kristopher Reisz
Memory is front and centre in this story from the Summer 2011 Issue of Icarus Magazine. Here, Reisz sets two men who are now older (and one of whom is definitely past his prime) together in a reunion where they discuss their glory days, and one of the lost members of their friend group who died. The narrator tries to be kind (if also perhaps a big smug) over the deterioration of the other man, who is overweight now, and doesn't seem to have much of his original charm, but the discussion of the good times leads of course back to their now-dead friend - and then the narrator learns of a fairy who can bring back memories to let you relive them, fully.
For a price.
What would you give to have a moment back with someone you cannot see again? To relive a happiness so fully that it's like having it to live over, only with the perspective of time and the ability to actually appreciate it for the treasure it really is? What if that price seemed too high at first, but the need to relive started to be more and more worth it?
This story sent shivers down my spine because of just how easily I could see myself in the same position - there are definitely moments in my life I'd like to revisit. Luckily, there's no dark creature offering it to me at any price.