“I like colorful clothing in the sun,
‘Cause it doesn’t remind me of anything,
I like hammering nails and speaking in tongues,
Cause it doesn’t remind me of anything.” ~ Chris Cornell, Audioslave
You do not swim inside my memory.
Your warm body, your sweet eyes, your beautiful lips—they do not sail to the surface of my mind every so often when I see a train, or some stunning landscape, or a gently twisting river.
No, these are not the things that remind me of you.
Because nothing reminds me.
The things I’ve lost, the things I’ve held sacred, the things I’ve loved, and the things I’ve dropped—oh, they are not things. They breathe and peck and beat and flutter. All the things that do not remind me of you are free now; they flew away, one by one.
When I count the stars, or look at the moon, or watch the sun come up over the mountain; when I see the steam rising off the lake in September; when I watch geese flying, honking, aligned in a “v” in the sky pointing south, I do not think of you or the way we went south so quickly—the way we barked at one another, how we circled the drain in dizziness and exhaustion and fear and anger, or sadly, how we dropped our shoulders, along with our verbal weapons; how we let go of our need for control; how we accepted our defeat; how we were, each in our own way, defeated by a love that didn’t last.
No, I do not think of us at all when I see the geese.
When I hear certain songs, when Chris Cornell comes on and he quietly weeps into his mic, while he slowly strums, cross-legged, brooding, belting out his longing; his soulful voice deep and guttural; the feeling that escapes when he laments comparisons, and hunger, and the black hole sun of depression; when I inhale his emotion, when it creeps deep inside me, I stop what I’m doing and I lean back. I just listen. I feel every last word and I try to forget.
Chris Cornell doesn’t remind me of you.
Numbers counted all the way to 12 do not remind me of our numbers, the ones we often used to communicate our feelings concisely—secretly. Lists do not remind me of our lists. When I said three, or eleven, or zero, you always understood. You knew just what I was saying, you recognized the code—our language—and you are the only one who ever will.
It is not lost on me that I could run into you on the street 30 years from now. I could hold up four fingers, and you would nod your head, and remember exactly what that means.
This is no small thing.
Rocks that look like people do not remind me of your penchant for perching whenever possible, on heads, on limbs, in laps, on shoulders, straddling, riding, acting like a caricature—acting like a western ranch hand cowboy or a goofy circus clown, just to be funny.
Laughter never makes me think of you.
Photos, and art, and heavy rain, and old farms in the quiet part of town do nothing for me. They do not conjure images of us exploring, of us holding hands, of us running for cover, of us looking at cows or lambs, of us doing anything at all.
Birds, like sparrows and starlings, have no place in my heart or head. They do not remind me of our bird names, or our bird tendencies, or that piece of driftwood found near a waterfall, sculpted to look like a bird—given to me as a gift.
When my hand slips between my legs, I do not think of your hand. In the wee hours of my non-sleep, my tossing, my kicking, my trying to find my way through the restless, lonely tunnel of desperation to that sweet spot land where dreams are caught and kept, I do not think of you.
When I kiss someone else in bed, I don’t remember your searching tongue in the dark. I don’t pretend for just a moment that it’s you I’m kissing, it’s you I’m touching, it’s you I’m seeking—instead.
No, I do not.
Fruits, like pineapples, and fantastical animals, like unicorns, do not remind me of your pet names, your smirking, your cleverness, your jabs, your endless jokes, our banter, our easy, witty, creative, camaraderie.
Pineapples do not remind me of anything.
The trees, the trails, the winding paths, the horizons, the views, the vistas, the reservoirs; when I trip and stumble; when I catch myself; when I catch my breath; when I happen upon an icy pond, or ducklings, or that elbow bend in the big loop we traversed countless times, there is nothing going on inside my head.
Nothing makes me think of you.
And it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter—none of this matters. For you are a memory now, a whisper, a journal entry, a postcard, a moment, a snapshot, a tiny segment, a blast in my timeline, and none of it matters at all anymore.
The things I’ve lost, the things I’ve held sacred, the things I’ve loved, and those things I’ve dropped—oh, they are not things. They wiggle, and rush, and run.
All the things that do not remind me of you were free to leave, and so they went—one by one.
And now nothing reminds me of anything.
“I won’t lie no more you can bet, and I don’t want to learn what I’ll need to forget.” ~ Audioslave, “Doesn’t Remind Me”