Did you know, you can remember things you have never experienced?
Or that sometimes, you can have a ‘false memory’, where your brain mistakes things you have imagined for things you have actually experienced? It’s amazing, some scientists did an experiment about it a while back and they managed to convince a group of people that they had a similar traumatic childhood experience when in actual fact they did not.
Sometimes, I think that our story was a false memory. Something that never really happened. It wasn’t so long ago that we were walking down the cold autumn streets, your fingers warm inside your red leather gloves. You convinced me so artfully that spending £100 on them was a great investment.
The minute we left the shop, with the gloves wrapped delicately in expensive tissue paper that you would only throw away, you turned to me with a smile and said, ‘Ooops.’
I remember everything in such vivid detail. The way your eyes looked when you were cross, and your mouth would set in one corner only. The way you would shove spoonfuls of cream into your mouth when you were mad, or sad. Pour it into a big mug and squeeze chocolate syrup on top. That was disgusting. I remember it fondly. I remember when you used to sleep sometimes, you would curl your fingers like a child. It was so odd. Maybe you felt safe?
I remember when you used to write, you would press the pen down so hard your fingernails turned white with the pressure, and your face would go right down so your nose was touching the paper. Sometimes you would come down and there would be ink spatters dotting your face like literary freckles.
When autumn came you blossomed. Cheeks red, hair alight from the summer sun, you would stay out for hours collecting leaves, and be so disappointed when I didn’t want to come with you. I wish I came with you, and collected leaves with you until my fingers were raw with cold.
I can’t see the dying trees outside now without curling into myself. I can’t look at all the leaves you collected and framed and piled around the house without my heart breaking into a hundred dead pieces. Over and over again.
You were so warm and full of life. I don’t know how somebody so alight with fire and passion could be so cold and still. It makes no sense to me. As all these thoughts rush through my mind, I begin to think we never happened. I just dreamed you up.
But the red gloves dangling over the edge of the dressing table, where you left them by mistake before we left home that fateful day, are a stark and painful reminder of what I have lost.