A Memoir

‘Memory is really weird,’ I told my sister, ‘Because you don’t really “remember” a thing. On a neurological level, when you bring up a memory you experience it, exactly the same way as you experience the present moment.

         ‘But that means,’ I continued while she looked at me sceptically, ‘If your memory is not completely factual, it is still the same, cognitively speaking, as though you experienced that thing actually happening. And the more you experience it, the stronger that incorrect pathway becomes.

         ‘Thus,’ I went on, raising one hand, palm upwards, ‘If two or more people remember an event often, each from their own point of view and with their own subtle errors, errors reinforced with each remembrance, the recollections of a single event can be wildly divergent after many years – both from each others’ memories – and  from the truth.

         ‘And that,’ I concluded with equanimity, ‘Is how I can remember it as the day when we first found the cubby-house in the thicket when we were children, and you can recall it as the day I amputated three of your fingers.

‘But we would both be right.’