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People confuse memory and memorial. I can see why.


I started with her neck; necks are easy, I thought. But I hadn't reckoned on the tiny differences, how a neck can be a tower of ivory one second and a pile of kittens the next. How even the simplest seeming curve is much more complex than a polynomial equation. How it sinks as she inhales, rises as she exhales.

Information is fractal, and I can only fear the fractal design of the dramatic human body. The mind can't handle fractals, too complex. It simplifies - I simplify - I abstract, I idealise. That's no good at all. Idealism is the enemy here. It's the opposite of the clarity this whole process should bring.

Of course, if the human body really is fractal, I'm doomed already. But that's negative thinking. There is hope.

I tried for her fingernails, and had some kind of success. I closed my eyes and drew them on my eyelids. Again and again I performed this exercise, until I had memorised them totally.

Sounds were easier. The voice on the edge of giggles, the tone when slightly repulsed, the sound of flopping into an armchair. Smells were nearly impossible; recalling a smell without a reference takes almost religious practice. But I did it. Months later, I did it.


The Kabbalists sometimes talk of the active world, where things can be changed, and the passive world, where they can't. In Berkeley's terms, the world exists as a thought in the mind of God. Extending the metaphor, the passive world is what exists in the memory of God. Which is another way of saying it doesn't exist anymore.


It worked. Carefully crafted memories overwhelmed reality. Or perhaps reality destroyed idealism. But I was left with a perfect copy of her, memorised to the last hair. And you can't build a mental picture of someone you're in love with. Everyone knows that. There's a modus tollens in there somewhere.


Inspired by a slip of the tongue, where 'memorialise' became 'memorise'. Thanks.

As I sat in a dimly lit, crowded and noisy French restaurant in the Spanish heart of San Francisco, I found that, though surrounded by din and the corporeal, I was nowhere to be found at all. An indiscernible conflagration of drums played through the small speakers perched nearby, all other music drowned out in the cramped restaurant. The man next to me had spilled his drink to the floor bringing a crowd of three employees to his aid, no doubt to his chagrin, and an obstreperously noisy group behind me persisted in smacking the table with gusto at each laughter-inducing story. These things found themselves taking second chair until I found that they went wholly unnoticed—I was lost in the blue planet that I saw in her eyes for the first time.

I studied and tried to memorize as well as my mind could, struggling through the confluence of beauty that makes up the human face and body—more pointedly, her face and body. I noticed her thin hands and their crisscrossed lines holding a spoon, nails that gently sloped to a rounded point, with her soft skin disappearing into her shirt’s cuffs only to reappear at its neckline, flowing silkily over her collarbone to meet at her throat, the cartilage and tendons showing through gentle depressions. I could see the softness of the underside of her jaw and wondered at how it would feel pressed against me, wondering if she had ever imagined me pressed thereupon. The corners of her mouth down-turned as she studied our chocolate mousse now removed from the spoon, forming small dimples in her cheeks while her lips pressed tightly together. Her brow furrowed slightly as it is wont to do when contemplating the uncertain, her eyes focusing downward, mostly closed.

Her cheeks rose slightly with a swallow as she turned the spoon over in her hand, enjoying each moment of the food before us. I existed in a moment of adjectives and superlatives: beautiful, alive, beloved, innocent. My world was a composition of words melting into their base meanings; my life was no longer scripted, and, seeing her, memorizing her from beginning to end, my conscription thereto held no longer. I was lost—stirred only by the smile upon her countenance at being observed in her moment of study. I took note of the way she held her hand at an angle from her arm, the backside of her wrist pressing against her mouth as she pulled her head forward with a stifled laugh, her lips parting only far enough to accommodate a brief lick.

Her glasses slid down the bridge of her nose, too large for her small face. She pushed them back up with her middle finger, enclosed by a gold band with delicate braiding etched upon it. How is it that such beauty is found in this world? How is it that such beauty has already escaped me?

She smiled at me, and I found myself again as I smiled back, memorizing her and dreaming a thousand tomorrows not yet passed.

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