Gone, but not forgotten is a sentiment we save for people and pets. It’s is something we associate with a warm and fond feeling, something to be treasured. It makes the past something to treasure, a cold winter warming by the fire kind of feeling for the soul. Memories are like old photographs, a story that evokes the quiver of emotion as you are back in the moment, drifting away. The sepia tone of a past neatly trimmed perhaps, but even without the rose-coloured blinkers of nostalgia, the memory is genuine and as heart-warming as it heartfelt.
The past, being in the moment, we are led to believe are friends, there to comfort us when the chips are down, or the day a little lonely. The familiar friendly characters bringing us back to that simpler time when happiness was nothing more than an ice cream van away. No one tells you that to be back in the moment is to feel the cold embrace of terror, to freeze, the silent panic of consequences aginst which you could never brace. The past is the jailer, the jangle of keys to the prison where you hide, it the baton on the bars foreboding of the punishment you earned that is coming home. The past is gone, but it is not forgotten, the familiar words, the smells, the sounds, the gust of wind, the particular engine note, the firmness of a door in the frame evoke not the warm blanket and comfort, but the shard of fear stained glass about to pierce and scar you for your sins and transgressions. And you dream, hold tight to the hope that there is good at the end of this. Redemption never comes.
Instead, the moment is gone, the scars not forgotten. Long after the past has been buried, the line drawn and you are supposed to be neatly placing the memories in the album of fairy tales you tell to hide what is real, you freeze. You wish it were forgotten, your heart races, your mind runs, and you look to flee, no one knows, it must never show. Instead, you ride out the wave of darkness and the lonely backwash of emotions run wild, and wait till the consequences never come, and you try to learn.
You tell yourself, you teach yourself, you lecture from the pulpit the sermon of freedom and redemption to the congregation of your hurts, sorrows and regrets that the past is gone. The grip released, and you walk free of fear, but the coldness still touches your hand in the quiet moments and the still. The blind alley of fear still open to its old friend. Each day without a “consequence”, time passing where you are no longer wondering, justifying is a small stone. And you build, you build your wall between now and then. Time passes, you learn to trust again, you learn how to get hurt again, and you believe in the person you see.
And a door slams …. it is just a door slamming, just a door slamming, one day soon.