[CREATIVE NONFICTION] On Forgetting
I had cut my hair short to see if I’d feel different or beautiful or special. I felt tired and messy and my head hurt. At first, it had been hard to imagine that someday soon there would come a day that I’d forget to think about K—. One whole day would pass. And I would not think of him.
It was impossible to think about not thinking about him. There was just a hint of forgetting that hung around me as I refused to respond to his last text message. I wondered if I would ever respond to it, opening that cycle of talking and never knowing all over again. After a while, there were days that I almost didn’t think of him and then I’d be out, in a coffee shop, at the beach, and I’d see him from the corner of my eye. I always turned to check. It was never him, and there was nothing else left for me to do but miss him.
Years later, I found two photographs of us together. I had slipped them into the back of a journal and they took me by surprise. I was listening to a song about someone wanting to move to California and it made me think about when K— used to fly around the world and call me from Chicago and Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Now, I am the one who travels—to Seattle and Portland and Boston—and I still don’t call him. I no longer want to. There’s so much and nothing to say.
I turned the photographs over to check the date on the reverse. I usually write them in, but I hadn’t. I hadn’t needed to. I thought about what it would feel like to pull at each end and tear the glossy paper. I slid both photos back into the journal in the place I had found them.
On the page, I had written, “We don’t talk about our dreams, perhaps because we know they are so different.” Then, in bold, “Do we ever truly leave our past behind?” Softer: “I am a wasp, shriveled and dying in an old bedsheet.”
Rebecca Jensen received her MFA in creative nonfiction at Florida Atlantic University in 2017. She has served as fiction editor for Driftwood Press and Managing Editor for FAU’s Coastlines. Her work appears in Eunoia Review, FishFood Magazine, and others. Rebecca will be completing a writing residency at Sundress Academy for the Arts this fall.