I’ve had this particular problem all my life. I am introduced to someone, possibly even more than once, and they can’t seem to recall ever having met me before. I’m not sure anything could possibly make you feel any smaller than this. You are not worth remembering.
But this sentiment echoes larger than simply in handshakes and hellos. We want to be remembered in lost loves and the words we leave behind. We tuck letters into books which are crumbling and romantically imagine someone finding the sound of lives past one day. You pack away all your belongings into boxes, but leave the old railroad tie you found one day under the bridge next to the low tides. Let them wonder.
We desperately want the world to know we were here. We carved our space into places which won’t be lost. It’s a bit grandiose. With a delicate smack of ego. But denying it will only make it thump louder in your chest. As millennials we have somehow been inundated with an idea, which says, we must be widely known in order for our work and lives to matter.
Yet, we forget birthdays and never stamp letters, which we meant to mail weeks ago. We look at our phones and sigh because a phone call home sounds exhausting. We say we should catch up soon and then weeks and months slip by. We forge new connections to grow our interests and forget to say, “Hey, how have you been?” and actually look our old friends in the eye. Yes, we are a fickle bunch us humans.
Look around your circle. Maybe it’s quite small, or perhaps a bit expansive. All I know is I don’t want to let mine collect dust in the background while I seek the heights. I don’t want to forget to write a note to the person who has read every word and said my dreams aloud, when I didn’t have the guts. I don’t want to leave behind the person who saw me, when I had quite lost track of my own self. I don’t want to let my love grow thin for those who have been the ground beneath my feet.
The nights lying on our backs in the middle of sweet smelling grass staring up at the black lit sky. The long walks at midnight even though I’m the one who loves the openness of walks in the dead of night, not you. The phone calls because you know how it hurt in the middle of all those people. Random desserts with silent hugs. Booking flights and knowing the favor can’t be returned any time soon. Driving past fields in heavy knowing with only an orange ember glowing because you hadn’t quit yet. Sitting in the kitchen, for a quick how was your day, which turns into an hour because the words keep pouring.
Not one of us is forgettable.
We are lovingly held in long kept letters and worn out tshirts. In phone calls at just the right time and knowing eyes. In memories the other never knew mattered.
People might always forget my name, or even having met me. My words might never reach the masses. But there are people across states, countries, and oceans who know not only my name, but my heart. And they remember.