I was sitting at a coffee shop waiting for a friend. I had enough time to observe the people around me. I noticed a couple sitting in the extreme corner. The boy was clearly uncomfortable because the girl was sobbing and he seemed torn between compassion and self-consciousness. Aware and worried that the people watching would hold him responsible for her tears. All of a sudden, while he seemed to be earnestly beseeching, she threw the mug across the floor and ran out of the cafe. He appeared stunned. No, he did not get up and run after her. He placed his head in his hands and stayed that way while the waiter went across and cleared the mess. Soon enough, he got up and left for the exit without meeting anyone’s eye.
This is real life and I’m not involved in this character’s story and unfortunately I will never know what really happened. It will come back to me from time to time in different ways … sometimes the boy’s expression, sometimes the girl getting up and flinging the cup across the floor with disappointment writ large on her face, sometimes the turning of several heads as they register the disturbance and look around, sometimes the defeated look on the boy’s face as he walked out the door … sometimes in slow motion and sometimes in sharp cuts.
Isn’t that what happens to our memories too? Over a period of time the interpretation is sweeter or not depending on how we want to see that moment?
The images don’t really alter but the way the light falls on them, the way the expressions remain, the selective bits we remember or those that we discard, decide how we look back on our past. Time is a great healer. It is also a great concealer.