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"They mostly only ever show through sometimes."

Some of the past never fully passes. A bit of it turns into legend, some of it into infamy, and the tiniest bit becomes deep, dark secrets over time. Even the secret seems more present than it should. No matter how many decades accrete on top of the original experience, it stays kind of close to the surface. A small scratch might reincarnate it at any time no matter how far out of mind it slips in the intervening years. A scent, a sound, a whisper from a dark alleyway as I pass, and that particular past, a Passsst, spontaneously reincarnates. Whether sweet or savory, bitter or sour, I re-experience the original sensations regardless of what I was just in the middle of doing.

I might then feel transported into another place and time.
I'm nineteen years old again and trying to find a worthy Christmas present for my love with a whole five bucks in my pocket. I'm twenty four and just caught myself walking through the wrong bathroom door again. I'm thirty seven going on thirteen and completely infatuated, about to ruin my life to save it. I'm tucking into a cherry pie my love made just for me, unaware that she left one pit inside that would crack a molar and leave me in agony. Most of these Passsst memories haunt me no longer than in the odd moment, and for little longer than that occasional instant, extinguishing themselves almost as soon as they reappear. I stare like a deer in my own headlights before blinking and moving on.

The worst are the moments when an old acquaintance dregs up some pinnacle low point, making a private embarrassment momentarily much more public than it was originally, encouraging me to elaborate, perhaps to explain how I ever thought that move would work or, worse, why I chose that particular action. I never know how to respond because I never knew what I was doing in the first place. I might have been running on autopilot and didn't notice some change of context, like when I walked through the wrong bathroom door (again). I just screwed up. Call it a brain fart or the normal product of a particularly bad day. I never, ever know what to say and so I start looking for a convenient desert where I might just bury my suddenly sorry head in some sand until this Passsst blows over again.

I admit that I've been barely conscious through most of my existence here. This pattern continues more or less unabated today. I do not shirk from my responsibility to own up to whatever I might have done, but I shrink from most invitations to do so. On some garrulous evening, I might regale a few of my more embarrassing moments, taking part in a general merry-making self-deprecation, but I'm terribly skilled as simply moving on and through rather than introducing much redux into the conversation. What's past is past except when it isn't. What's Passsst is never over, not completely, not really. I seem to remain in every moment I ever existed, residue from my passing present evermore. Only the Passsst experiences ever haunt me, though every past somehow remains. I have my secrets. They're mostly just mine. They mostly only ever show through sometimes.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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