I live through the stories of others


Alysse Calabio

One of those memories that I don’t really remember anymore

I used to be afraid of trees.

If I’m being honest, I don’t remember being scared of them at all; my memories of when I was younger are honestly all really hazy now.

There are still slivers of moments that I am able to recall as if I were still in that moment: my old babysitter walking through the door with a huge box filled with what seemed to be an infinite number of beads or when my younger brother ran around my house wearing my green shirt that was ten times too big on him.

Even so, that is all that they are: slivers of the whole story. I am forced to live my childhood through the tales others tell about me because I simply don’t remember.

My parents would always remind me that when I was younger, whenever we were going on a drive and passed through a tunnel of trees, I would scream and cry uncontrollably—the only fix being for us to leave the passage as quickly as possible. 

I am forced to live my childhood through the tales others tell about me because, simply, I don’t remember.

And just like clockwork, the story would always be followed by, What were you so afraid of? But I can’t answer it because, really, I don’t know. I could not tell you what I was thinking or doing in those moments.

I am forced to learn who I was through the words of different people.

Looking at myself now, it feels as though I could remember everything. Although it may take me a moment to recall what I was doing a few days ago, I probably could recite my whole routine—maybe even go on an hour-long tangent about something most likely very minor. 

But, more importantly, I am able to remember all the accomplishments and memories, big or small, that I hold dear to me. I remember going out on random trips with my friends and us laughing about things that really don’t make any sense, or the hours we spend talking on the phone about things we want to do together.

Still, I know that I am forgetting a lot: a lot of moments that I had before thought could never leave me. I know that those memories that seem so clear to me now, the routines and memories that I thought I could have recited perfectly, will eventually all become hazy—just as the ones during my childhood have.

Although I know that the memories I have now will eventually fade, I don’t feel disdain. I continue on knowing that there are a million more memories waiting for me with open arms, waiting for me to find them.

So, even if all I remember about my ‘now’ is a sliver of the moments I’ve lived through, I know that it’ll be okay because I will know I will have lived through them.

I know that I have done more than just live in the stories of others.