I believe in forgetting. Forgetting my gloves on the bus. Forgetting my sister’s birthday. Forgetting the name of a classmate or worse a relative. Forgetting makes me lighter than when I remembered. As I forget I feel my strides grow longer. Longer and lighter until I break free of the gravity of memory and bound the moon. I believe that forgetting is an essential part of life. More important that eating or drinking and certainly more important than remembering.
I am a student at a well respected veterinary medical college. Everyone of my classmates and I are aggressive overachievers in some way or another. Most spend hours every day first in lecture and labs and then in the library cramming the anatomy and physiology of dogs, cats, horses, cows, goats, fish, birds, lizards and amphibians. We are desperate to remember. We expend tremendous sweat, tears and a little blood to remember. I do my best to remember the names of the thoracic limb muscles and the characteristics of white blood cells and my sister’s birthday and my second cousin’s name and my gloves on the bus and yet the ease with which I forget is fantastic.
Forgetting is a mystical experience. Religious. As details drop away simplicity is revealed. When I lose my gloves on the bus I find I no longer have to keep after my gloves. When I forget the name of a leg muscle I am left with the impression of that memory like the deep marks left the carpet where piece of furniture long stood. But no longer there the type of furniture cannot be identified. Table or a chair. I’ll never know. I can only say that there was once a piece of furniture there or I once knew the name of that muscle. It is the lightest and happiest of feelings to feel that impression. Memory is left standing around the impression of the forgotten. I am euphoric when I know I knew something that I cannot remember. I believe I forgot.
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