There are big holes in my memory. Especially during my time in high school. I wanted to forget, and have succeeded, and I don’t know if I like the condition now. It’s like, after years of drilling into my head the mantra of forgetting, the success left me feeling empty. I can’t remember the name of that girl who always sat at the back of the room, and was made fun of for wearing the same dirty uniform for days. I don’t remember anything interesting happening during that time. Or at least I don’t think they have any meaning any more. There’s a huge meaning-sucking machine somewhere near me. I don’t know where exactly it is, I only deal with what is left. And what is left is this vast flat wasteland, dry cracked earth, hot winds, total sun, empty skies.
There was a girl, a classmate in my junior year (third year) in high school. I found out she died years later. It was a congenital thing. She was born with a hole in her heart. I remember commuting to school with this girl. I remember her being silent most of the time. She had the most sophisticated-looking smile, like she does not smile just for any reason. There has to be something meaningful and special, and she smiles, and everything is alright with the world. I remember we were both staff members of the high school paper. I wrote the news and editorial, she wrote feature. I learned of her death when I was still puttering around in college, delayed, because I failed to complete the requirements in a couple of courses. I learned she had graduated nursing in this college in our city. I learned she had passed the nursing licensure exam. I was late to the knowledge of her death. I remember I sort of liked her. She had a great personality. She was nice, and most importantly, she was silent. Silent in the classroom, unless called upon to speak. Like me. I felt a camaraderie of sorts, but we weren’t close friends or anything. She was someone I felt was on the same wavelength as me.
I remember the numerous academic failures I had. I remember being absent a lot of times. Days in a row, whenever I felt awful. I remember that feeling of my heart being crushed while preparing for my commute to school after having been gone from school for days. The looks on the faces of teachers feeling let down, saying in their eyes how did things turn out so bad when you held so much promise. All the crushing expectations I made my own because I was severely insecure and lacking in personality. I think that’s what I felt. Not really sure. High school was a long time ago. And yet here I am still reminiscing. Contradicting myself with each succeeding paragraph.