“I want you to remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you here like this?”
Out of all the fears in the world, this is the biggest fear I’ll ever have. “If I should disappear, will you tell them I was here?“ Memories scare me. Oblivion is scary.
As we walk through our life, we leave traces behind. Sometimes, we run too far to remember we ever walked that path; other times, we wonder if anyone’s following those traces, looking for us, searching for us, as we walk into the wilderness.
As we leave a place, we feel a small part of us receding, leaving our body. We feel we are leaving a part of us behind. Our existence is a body compiled of molecules, of these little particles that we hold together. These particles, inside our bodies, are no more than an unsolved puzzle. Each particle belongs to an experience exquisitely designed for it alone. Hence, as we walk through life, leaving behind a place, a person, or a memory, we find a piece of us being left behind. The pieces finally fit. That piece was supposed to fit where it belonged. We happily leave that piece there , hoping for its safety. We seek security for our memories in them. We are worried because we are basically nothing but those pieces and if those pieces wither away, what will be left of our existence? Of a proof that we ever lived? That we walked on this Earth while we loved and hated, smiled and cried?
We are not the solid beings the books tell us we are. We are very fragile beings. We are surprisingly volatile beings. We are not on our own, we are never alone. Our existence is co-dependent and what is ever left of us on this Earth is our memories with the people we’ve touched, the places we’ve been to and the memories we’ve kept.
But memory is a funny thing. We feel that we’ve got everything stored in our head. We feel that we’ll always keep the traces of the people we’ve met secure with us but just like we are giving away a part of us, our experiences with the world is also fading away. We feel that we’ve kept them alive in us, but with our pieces receding us, their memories, with us, are also diminishing.
Sometimes, we feel a pang of dread. What if we’ve forgotten the most important thing about them? What if all the memories are slowly turning into a mud as we go on creating new ones?
Some times, we wonder if we are still alive in others memories.
Other times, we wonder if we have kept them safe in ours.
At certain nights, I feel as if a part of me has died, like an old habit, like a distinct quality. Sometimes, I can also feel myself falling apart. As I come to think of it, I wonder if that feeling comes from the fact that someone has forgotten to keep me alive in their memory, or, maybe, someone has forgotten to pick up the pieces I left behind.
Existence is a tricky business, it seems. It is not ours to control, it looks, so the only thing that makes sense is to ask them “If I should fade away, will you speak of my existence?”
Or, as Beckett puts it, “Will you tell them that you saw me?”