Posted by: David Weimer | December 29, 2009

I Remember Everything

Seeing my boys in the distance on the rope swings under the tree, turning my eyes to look back down at the hole I was digging.
I remember the times that I didn’t tell you I loved you.
I remember not hugging you.
I remember forgetting what was important.

I remember my anger at my oldest son for not doing something the way that I wanted. I remember spanking my youngest son; I don’t remember why. But I’ll remember his shocked crying. I remember the moment I realized this was my burden.

I remember great, reaching friends of my childhood—those trees–and wondering, among my friends, what my life would be. Hopeful, expectant, sad, full of wonder; these were my conditions. At twenty, feeling aimless, drifting in place while time kept going—I remember waiting for fame.

I remember Dad, Mom, Pat, Anne, and Daisy, Lucky, Sabbath. My childhood is still back there, still and waiting.

I remember times that I worried. And both of my weddings. I remember checking the mailbox for my French pen-pal’s letters when we were young. I remember, a world of years later, the night of my second son’s birth. I smoked a cigar in the January parking lot, looking up past the snow at the lighted window where my newest relative waited, warm, with my pen-pal-now wife.

Sometimes I turn from the sad things. Later, if I want, I can come back and feel nostalgia. Some things are there in me, unsaid, even though I remember them as sharp as anything else. Staring into a fire under a night sky is the only kind of time when talking might work, because we can hear each other sometimes when the flames dance silently.

I’ve forgotten most of the people from my past. And most of the people that I’ve met. I remember effortlessly my way through cobbled streets and public gardens in Stuttgart. I remember where my clothes were, my bed, my shoes. These places are part of my self that I walk around with. My morning shower, drinking coffee from small cups, listening to music, staring into the distance from the edge of a hillside vineyard in the fall. Looking at the moon.

I remember leaving for work, knowing I’d forgotten something; remembering only, in a flash, when I was miles away. All of these times are fading into one another. It’s all a single moment like a mountain.

I remember believing I was a much better person. I remember, later, when I accepted I’m getting worse. Getting slower, weaker, less capable of handling multiple tasks. I’m forgiving others more and more every day.

I was not good enough to be a husband or a father. I remember having no choice but to be good enough for those who called me these things. I’m still not good enough. But I’ve accepted this, too, and do my best anyway.

I remember running, running, running. I remember turning and facing—an attacker, the dark, a vicious animal, an illness. I remember becoming something other than myself. It was a surprise.

We’re all the same, I discovered. I dropped hate. I had no choice.

I resolved to be a better person in this life and lost track of that resolution. I remember doing this. I remember good times, no pain, no worries, no discomfort, no problem. When I was content. That memory is thin away and far off, but still comforting.

I hope you will forgive me. When we knew each other… I hope I was a good companion some time, or, just once, for you.

The nausea, chills, sweating of my most recent stomach virus. These things drift away as my health returns. I am surprised by this health. It seems a solitary miracle every time.

I remember a cold room in the Memphis July, sitting with older people than me, waiting for our next turn for the nurse to remove gauze, for the doctor to cut away a larger rind of skin, again, from around an exposed wound or crater on our face, back, neck and hand. I remember the scalpel as a shadow in the corner of my left eye, then feeling the pulling and numbed heavy pressure of cutting.

Adventures in space, in magic lands, with mystery, turmoil, war and discovery—I turned away, always away from my day to day and turned pages and pages immersed in another place and time. I remember reading long past sleep.

I remember my eternal first day at Army basic training, absorbing the dread. Maybe it was a collective silent moan of the recruits surrounding me that echoed in my head. Maybe it was only me.

I remember my first love; my first son’s birth; my first punch; first car; first squirrels gutted hunting alone; first heartbreak, first foreign language, first turbulent marriage, first skydive.

I remember everything. I feel, still, the warmth of idealism, its afterglow of dreaming and hoping. It’s there—behind my eyes a grand slide show. I’m interested and patient and prepared to watch for a long time. I’m the perfect audience. I’m no longer immortal.

Do audiences and shows always merge? What if I die? Will I remember this past or will I merge into it, forgetting, finally, that ‘out there’ even exists?

I remember feeling the overwhelming need to explain something. The undeniable compulsion to convey an idea. Now, I feel the grip of that compulsion easing around my neck.

Flash—moments, time spent, treasured then and now, of inline skating in Germany, France, and later, the U.S. Reliving days of hours fixing myself on a skill or trick on ramps, steps, table tops, rails. Working on parts of me, on courage; fearing, trying, exalting at having really gone for it once. And a soaring overarching confidence as I became progressively more proficient, comfortable, relaxed in my skill.

The more I remember, the more there is.

How far down do I go? Do I touch something else? Or is that something else me? My own father’s memory thread was cut short in the summer of his year. I have entered this time of myself. His buried life rests below my well, and it, too, was deep—as deep as mine is—I am sure.

Billions of fathers and sons have come and gone. Certainly trillions of all the kinds on our planet since its beginning. Does this approach the trillions of similar pairs of stars, staggered in their order of arrival, living, having lived and to-be-lived their eternal, singular lives, separate yet related, burning, in this universe? What is this universe?

Something beckons from inside of me at such speculation. From further down than I can go; before remembering myself. Before remembering everything about me. Deeper than I am. Beyond me. Infinitely empty. A dream to me, it says. It’s all a dream to me.


  1. Okay. Test

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