I Put This Moment Here


“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.” ― Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

I have a memory like a sieve.  My recollections of the past come to me in flashes and snippets and I have to be mindful not to fall into one of the many great blank holes when traipsing around in half-forgotten yesterdays. Part of it is the result of a built-in self-defense mechanism, tamping down the harmful events that one never quite survives intact. The rest? Just plain negligence. I am a poor caretaker of retrospection.

And for a while, I wasn’t bothered by it. Then I reached a point in life when memories—of love and pain and the whole damned thing—became important because I found myself wanting to catalog my journey before I reached the end of the race (it’s always closer than you expect and they say you never see the finish line with your name on it).

But now, when I recount the tales of the various and sundry someones who impacted my life before blowing away like a leaf in the wind, someones whose names I used to be able to recite by rote, those names have now taken up permanent residence on the tip of my tongue but never so close as to venture past my lips.

I find that in order to remember a past event, I have to place it in a location that’s visible so that I don’t misplace it along with my keys and smartphone. I have chosen this place as the soil in which to plant my evaporating memories before they’re gone forever.

I put this moment here:

Of the girl that I fancied in the first grade whose name might have been Cheryl or Shirley but for some reason, I remember it as “Squirrel,” whom I wrote about when the teacher asked the class to write about something we loved. And that selfsame teacher thinking it was so adorable that she took me to Squirrel’s class and made me read it aloud to her. You’re never too young to discover embarrassment.

I put this moment here:

Of the German woman who made me my first brown bag lunch for school that consisted of a healthy liverwurst sandwich which I enjoyed the taste of but stopped eating altogether after being teased at school by the other kids for eating dog food. It hurt her feelings and I wish I had a stronger conviction to continue eating the lunches she prepared with love.

I put this moment here:

Of the asexual woman I worked with at a car rental agency who looked like a young Peggy Lipton (an American actress most famous for the 60s tv series, “The Mod Squad” and her marriage to music producer Quincy Jones) and lived in New Jersey.

We went on our own personal pub crawl, saw a local band perform live at an indie bar (who turned out to be the Spin Doctors long before signing with a label) and wound up back at her apartment. Her place was small, spartan and very, very tidy. A place for everything and everything in its place. Except for a television or radio. She had neither. She was an avid reader and nearly every wall contained bookshelves. Nothing wrong with that…except that every book dealt with serial killers, cults, true crime unsolved murder mysteries. Again, her library, her business.

But her furniture was all covered in plastic, the floors were single sheet vinyl and the tables and countertops were resin…and my mind did the connect-the-dots-thing, teamed with my overactive writer’s imagination and I realized that no one knew I was there. We arrived at her place around 3am and her neighborhood was a ghost town, no one saw me enter her apartment, and blood could be wiped from all these surfaces easily with a little bleach and elbow grease. And given all those books, she probably knew how to make an enzyme solvent to get rid of any nasty little DNA traces of me.

Everything turned out fine, naturally, she was just a fellow insomniac looking for some company and we had an interesting conversation and broke dawn, but I did follow her into the kitchen whenever she offered to get me a drink. Just to be on the safe side.

I put this moment here:

Of the woman I worked with at a banking institution who I wound up spending a bizarre New Year’s Eve with as we searched Manhattan for the perfect place to ring in the new year and wound up buying tabs of acid off some guy on the street and tripping balls as we lay in the grass of Central Park, making insane resolutions and wishing on shooting stars (real or hallucinated) for a better year to come.

Sometimes when my mind is idle, I struggle to recall the names of people and events trapped within synaptic pathways that withered from non-use, names and events I feel I should remember because of the emotions that linger despite the fact the memories have faded and recognition has faltered.

I lament the loss of these remembrances because they’re all a part of me and I’m afraid to learn the answer to what of myself will remain when all the memories have faded away.

Gather ye memories while ye may. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

47 responses to “I Put This Moment Here

  1. I, too, have a memory like a sieve. Sometimes I would like those bottled up memories so that I could uncork them too. Other times I would like them so they could stay corked forever!


  2. This post was well-written and funny (“dog food”…made me cry with tears) as if it’s any different than your other stuff, but seriously, I often think if I don’t write it down or try to write it down, my memories will just be lost.

    But it can be so much fun to talk w/ friends and family about what they remember. I’m not sure if folks with exceptional memories are better off, just maybe a little crazier.


    • Muchos gracias on the compliment, you yet again heap upon me undeserved praise… but I’ll take it anyway.

      The odd yet fascinating thing about discussing the past with friends and family, other than the differing perspectives on the same events, is the way they picture you and the impressions they had of you at the time.

      You never really know how other people see you.

      I’d love to have a photographic memory (it’d make cataloging my life a whole lot easier) but on the flipside, suddenly remembering something you haven’t thought about in years is like finding a gold nugget in your mental sifting pan amongst the mud.

      Stay gold, Lani Cox, stay gold.


      • May your search for memories be fruitful and your attempt at making new memories be delightful. I’m off to pan for gold, Mr. Pioneer of Prose…


      • Same to you, kiddo. As far as making new memories go, my plan is to hunker down in my den of hermitry and let all the variants die from neglect while I delve deeper into the cave of yesteryears with my sifting tray and prosey prospecting hands.


  3. Thank you for sharing this. My memory, while not a sieve sometimes simply writes it’s own endings to the fragments left after the disaster of pain or heartbreak. I’m not sure either is a lucky path to take, but may our journey be full of friends and good times

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, nice share! I think it’s important to document memories especially when the details start to become fuzzy and I don’t mean by snapping pics or video on your phone, I mean writing down the details because that’s where the meat of the nutshell lives.
    We need to talk about you breaking dawn in creepy girl’s apartment. That’s some cajones you’ve got there, mister. Once I saw the serial killer library and plastic covered furniture, the only thing she would have seen was a cloud shaped like me as I hauled ass back home!
    I’m starting a petition for more posts like this! I wanna live vicariously through other people’s insanity from the safety of my own home!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not much of a picture-taking or video-capturing guy myself, Suranne. I’m just kicking myself for waiting so long to commit my memories to the page, now that they’re all so full of holes. Any writer worth their salt should have known better than that.

      The young lady you’re referencing was a unique and interesting individual. The scene was probably exaggerated in my mind because we spent the night drinking and I have an overactive imagination. Besides, if I bailed on every odd person I encountered, I’d have no stories to tell or friends for that matter. I attract left-of-center people.

      As for your petition, you might get more posts like this, I’m not sure, though. The last thing I want to do is bore-ass visitors to the blog with my trips down memory lane. We’ll see. Cheers for the read and compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Talk about burying the lead………..I need to hear more about the New Year’s Eve acid trip! What was it like and what did you see and was it your first time and do you still have flashbacks???

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid that was my only acid trip, Cuca. The young lady I was with, however, was experienced.

      Since you’re looking for more details, allow me to set the stage: if you’re unfamiliar with New York City, on New Year’s Eve, if you want to see the ball drop live, you need to camp out in Times Square very early in the day because the streets are packed like a sardine can the closer you get to midnight and you’re unable to move in the crush of people (it’s even worse now with the heightened security after 9/11). That wasn’t an option for us since we got off from work at 5pm.

      So, we instead went in search of a bar that didn’t require reservations or hiked up the price of their drinks for the occasion, but were unsuccessful so we hit up a liquor store, brown-bagged a bottle of Stoli, and headed to Strawberry Fields (the five-acre John Lennon memorial in Central Park, near where he was murdered outside his home, the Dakota Apartments) and on the way, we came across a guy peddling Mickey Mouse tabs. When the young lady found out I was an LSD virgin, she convinced me to give it a try (didn’t take much convincing, I’d been curious for a while).

      Luckily, I was in a good head so I didn’t have a bad trip. The bits I can remember are, we were sitting on a park bench when I started feeling the symptoms. The bench was moving and I felt like I was riding on a giant caterpillar which unnerved me a little, so we found a spot on the grass to lie down. I also remember there being an abundance of colors all around me, which were beautiful and almost overwhelming and I had a sort of synesthesia where I could taste the words I was speaking and that were spoken to me.

      After I came down, the young lady came back to my apartment and spent the night just to make sure I stayed in a good headspace and I’m glad she did because I had a flashback on the subway ride home and I felt like I was sliding through time and off the surface of the planet. Other stuff probably happened but that’s pretty much all I remember.

      I discovered that I didn’t like not being in control like that, so I never tried it again. It seems I’m not that adventurous when it comes to drug experimentation (injectables are a definite no-no), though I do understand the curiosity to experience altered states of being. I wish the story was juicier, but it is what it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I possess a pretty good memory, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s like magnet-fishing, and most of what I catch are nasty old rusted hunks of debris better left on the bottom of the river. I recall begging my mom several times as she got older to write down her memories in order to preserve them. She never did…and I wonder if it was because of the unsavory ones associated with her abusive marriage that haunted her but which she pretended didn’t faze her. With all that said, the good memories I have can be almost painful in their beauty. It’s an odd paradox. Perhaps it’s because there are so few of them, or perhaps it’s because I want to return to those moments in time, take up residence there and never leave. This essay is fascinating and left me in such an introspective mood. In isolation (whether self-imposed or due to events beyond our control), it seems as if memories take on more weight because we have so much time to remember them. As Lani said above, I hope you can make as many new good memories as humanly possible. I hope the same for myself, and everyone else. Thanks for sharing your memories with us, Rhyan. This was a delight to read. And my apologies for such a lengthy reply–your postings tend to bring out the words in me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear about the hardships your mother endured, Mike, and I’m all too familiar with the weight and happy-sorrow nostalgia carries in tow. Sometimes you reach a point when you think all the good and happy times in your life exist only in your rearview mirror. Growing pains, I suppose, to help you readjust your mindset for a different brand of good times. At least I hope that’s the case.

      In any event, cheers for the read and comment, my friend, and I wish nothing but the best for you in the coming days and the rest of your fruitful life!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, first grade love. After your secret confession, did you and Squirrel (surely not that girl’s name) become friends? Obviously you weren’t childhood sweethearts who kept in touch because you can’t remember her name, but what a beautiful story that would have made, with the sweetest meet cute ever. Thanks for sharing, Rhyan! Great as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • After I read my “love letter” in Squirrel’s (c’mon, it could be her name, you never know) class, the teachers (mine and hers) thought it would be nice for me to give her a hug and kiss (sadistic bastards), but when I tried, she ran away from me. I do not recall ever seeing her again. So, sorry, Peri, no sweet childhood meet-cute this go-round. Better luck next, eh?

      Now, I’m off to find a senior to draft a letter to: “Dearest Chinchilla, You don’t know me, but I’ve watched you from afar…”

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Our memories can haunt or sustain us, but either way, they define us and without them, we’re left to wander alone in the dark.

    My Dad is a stroke patient and has a weirdly selective memory which is bizarre. He can remember something mundane he did 30 years ago but he struggles to remember my name on a day to day basis.

    Your posts are always thought provoking even if you don’t intend them to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Too true, Fernando, and I’m sorry to hear about your father. On some level, he has to appreciate how much you care for him even if he doesn’t verbalize it, I’m sure he acknowledges the comfort you bring. Cheers for the read and for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I really enjoyed reading your random memories! …made me force recall on some of my own… Perhaps I need to write out some of my own fuzzied past.
    Anyways…love ur writing style, following now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the Madd-house, MommyTalks!

      I learned all too late that memories (or better yet, the details of memories) disappear quicker than you realize. There’s no time like the present to start committing the past to paper (or electronically, if you’re so inclined).

      Anyhoo, cheers for the read, comment, and compliment, and I’ve returned the Follow favor. Looking forward to reading more from you!


  10. Dude, do you know any normal people? I’m picturing on your deathbed (many many years from now of course) telling these stories to your family and having them blow them off as tall tales until Okra Girl and Serial Killer Girl and Blizzard Girl and all the rest show up to pay their respects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That depends on how you define “normal.”

      I should be so lucky as to have a “Big Fish” sendoff when I die (I used to want an “All That Jazz” musical finale, but maybe the Tim Burton route is better suited to me) but I think that the gathering of all the bizarre people of my past in one place may cause a rupture in the space/time continuum. Best to keep dangerous materials separated, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A well-thought-out post despite your lack of memory on some things like names.
    This has a touching feel to it. There’s underlying angst of loss. I’m not saying it’s age because obviously, I don’t know your age but with me, as I get older I find everything is a bit hazy. I do feel like it’s a blessing sometimes. Perhaps a safety to keep ourselves from reliving some things that are best left alone. Actually, I started my blog to recreate some memories. I still haven’t quite gotten there though I’ve posted a few. A thought-provoking post, Rhyan. It was a pleasure to read.
    Have a great week … Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isadora, let’s just say that I’m closer to the end of the race than the beginning, so it’s definitely about age. There was a time I could rattle off the names of everyone I ever encountered. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I can recall one-tenth of the names of the people who inhabit my memories, and some of those folks were dear to me. Memory loss is such a shame.

      Cheers for the read, comment, and compliment! They’re all greatly appreciated, and please do enjoy your week, as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the afternoon chuckle. Life can seem like a race. Right now, I’m not rushing to get to the finish. ~~~ : – )
        The memory might slow down but so the the body. I can recall when I danced for 6 – 8 hours in rehearsals for dance shows on Broadway or at dance conventions in Manhattan when great teachers were brought in for it. (PS: Henry LeTang) I loved the physical pain when the muscles could not do any more. But now, walking to get a glass of water from the kitchen though the living room seems like quite a feat. LOL In the end, it’s all relative. We change from head to toe. Your welcome … I enjoy your writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I had no idea I was chatting with a bonafide Broadway hoofer (the kids still use that phrase, don’t they? Like 23 skidoo, and I’ll kiss you later I’m eating a potato? Don’t tell me I’m not a hep cat).

        Not that it remotely compares to 6-8 hour dance rehearsals, but I remember the days of getting off work, heading straight to a club to drink and dance all night long, and then going from the club straight back to work the next morning to work my full shift with no sleep. Now, I’m lucky if I can stay awake watching a half-hour tv show, having just come off a nap.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL 😂 YUP 👍 that’s aging. I’m starting to embrace it. I can speak what I wish. Hopefully, no one decides to knock me out. 😀 I danced for 5 years. I lived in Brooklyn. I rode the subways. It’s a wild and unique lifestyle. So, why steer away from that? I decided to create art in all forms-ie: interior decorating, watercolor paintings, clothing, silversmithing jewelry and photography.
        Check it out:


        It’s a pleasure to meet you 😀🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m the president of Speak Your Mind Club (New York Chapter) and while no one has taken a swing at me (yet) I have chased off more than a few people in real life and online. It’s never malicious, understand, just straightforward. Just like James Brown sang, “Papa don’t take no mess,” which I guess makes me an acquired taste that sensitive types don’t seem to be able to stomach.

        I certainly will check out your work, thanks for sharing it, and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I think mine are already gone. Poof! Disappeared or maybe kidnapped by my subconscious so that my conscious doesn’t try to kill itself. I like how you’ve had varied experiences at different places with different people. That would definitely be tricky to remember. But it must make you feel like you went out into the world and actually tried to build connections even if for short periods. Glad you shared these. I remember the ‘lady with insomnia’ story. You were either silly or too brave to stick around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terveen, we both know full well that the claim of your “disappeared memories” isn’t true in the slightest. As I’ve told you many times before, you simply choose to play your cards close to the vest, which is your right. Some writers are sharers and others are not.

      My only hope is that you have someone, a keeper of days long past, you can share the story of your life—which I am sure is interesting and compelling—with because it would be a shame for the events that shaped you into the marvelous person that you are, to vanish on the unfortunate day when those memories eventually fade.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sometimes I think these are actually the things that define us – even the most famous writer wouldn’t be recognized by their great works. But a small moment about a lady who made them a brown bag lunch…that is a human thing and it’s beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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