The floor in our lounge was huge. Expansive. It stretched out like a dependable ocean in front of my four year-old eyes, a dun-coloured red and always cool under my small feet. It was the scene of many adventures.
We had a dog, no special breed or anything. A normal looking dog, black, and the only things special about him were the diamond-shaped bit of white at his neck and the fact that he was our dog. We had to leave him when I was six. I love him though my memory of him is only from photos and I cried when I was thirteen, thinking of how he was either alone, or dead, or dying alone.
I had a purple and white dress with crinkles all down it that skittered pleasantly across my knees when I rode my bike. It had a white lace collar and puffed sleeves that nuzzled my chin whenever I turned my head and it looks like something I would like. I must have, because I wore it. Though I was the kind of kid who did things because my parents told me.
We had the best garden, all large and leafy, and it was the biggest possible world of adventures to me then. Maybe it was tiny, but in my mind it’s always large, and always full of secrets, my original secret garden.
I revisit these memories, sometimes by myself, sometimes with others. But it’s only with the latter that I realize that some of them aren’t real memories. Only false ones. Because how can flowers turn into worms, without a trace of their original petals? How could the floor in our house stretch on for endless miles? Was our dog’s fur really as soft and smooth as it is in my head?
Revisits are unnerving because I find the small kingdom that I’ve built up inside my head rests on imaginary foundations. It’s both enlightening and disappointing. It’s only after these scrutinizing moments that I find that half of what’s in my head is composed from false assumptions, or dreams that I’ve convinced myself are true.
What looks like reality from afar, only reveals growing cracks and crumbling assumptions when I pay a little more attention. And then there are times when I’ve convinced myself to such a point that reality and imagination mingle into one entity that I can no longer distinguish between the two.
Revisiting is unnerving because I find that I can’t rely on my own mind.