Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A Moment I Wish I Could Relive

This week's Long & Short Reviews prompt is pure self-indulgence. "A moment I wish I could relive"? Well, obviously...all middle-aged people have outlived people we loved. Pick a person. Pick a moment. Some say the biochemical reactions we have while reminiscing at length make it worth describing those moments of bliss to people who weren't part of them. Some say it's better to save them, recombine them, fictionalize them, and use them in novels.

Many of these blessed moments involve life's milestones, so they have counterparts for most readers and may be summarized in sentences.

"You passed the test."

"You're hired."

"I will."

"I do."

"Your student passed the test."

"It's working."

"No evidence of cancer."

"We would like to buy..."

"I feel ...well!"

"Mother and baby are doing well."

Hmm. Is that a Top Ten List or a free-verse poem?

Then every family has a few that are more specific.

"Your kid had the highest scores we've seen on the exam...since you took it."

"Should we keep the school small, or start looking for a bigger building and more teachers?"

"The Senate voted to pass that bill we've been working on."

"Vision is 20/20 in the donated eye."

And of course, at a Cat Sanctuary, sometimes...


The moment when a cat who's been ill or anesthetized wakes up and looks alive is one to treasure.

Sometimes I think my mother wanted to raise a brood of memoirists. She believed that the ability to remember one's early childhood was a sign of intelligence or mental health, and encouraged all of her children to reminisce about everything. I could try your patience with thousands of words of fond memories from early, middle, and late childhood. It wouldn't be wishing I could relive, e.g., the summers, each of which was better than the one before up to the last one, which was not a good set of memories at all. I can relive them in memory...and then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils, but I'm not sure how much fun that would be for you. 

Putting memories into a proper poetic form feels like falsifying them, so here's a memory in free verse form...

Shopping trip to Bethesda on the Metro
with my adoptive sister, to buy presents
for her and my natural sister back home.
They were thirteen; I'd soon be twenty-three.
Both were taller and heavier than I was
and less baby-faced. I hated my baby face
but nobody we knew could ever hate anything
in that sister's company. It was her gift.
Had someone said something that suggested it?
"Let's see if we can act like natural sisters
and you're the older one!" Of course we could.
She carried the money and made final decisions.
We could confuse people about our ages
but not about our Spanish, learned at school
although her mother had learned it at home.


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