22 October 2009

Memory

Steve G (see "To Be Known", 26 July 2009) is still in touch. I placed my FaceBook account in hibernation mode again recently and he's begun to send email again.

Yesterday he wrote
Miss You...
that's all I can say...
Memories of our love have been cropping up and I ... wish I had been more mature when we first met...
I asked "What do you remember?" and he responded with an astonishing number of specific, vivid memories. He remembers the red dress.

It was the most I'd ever spent on a piece of clothing: $100 for a floor length, wool blend, body-hugger with long sleeves. Tiny scallops along a very low, square neckline. I bought it to wear to a frat dance at DePauw University--the school I'd attended the previous year.

Steve was still enrolled but I'd dropped out at the end of Spring term and returned to Kentuckiana. I lived two hours away in my first apartment. I was driving my first car to my first real job--weekend news anchor for WINN radio.

The trip back to Depauw for a November dance party would be my first since leaving. Steve and I had not talked about what my leaving town meant. This was an important trip. I was ready to talk about the relationship. What were we doing?

For such a special occasion, I needed a special dress. I bought the red dress in one of the "better" shops downtown and it was truly a psychotropic experience finding it, trying it on, and seeing my reflection in the mirror. I loved that dress--so well made--and I loved how I felt in that dress. The fabric clung to every curve and angle of my body. I was worried about my nipples showing. Today, there would be no issue but in 1973 being obviously bra-less in public was still noteworthy. Glamour Magazine had recently offered a nipple concealment tip: Band Aids.

Back home with the dress, I tried it.

Heavens no!

Without question, the effect was a far more offensive spectacle than small natural bumps. So I abandoned the idea.

Today, 36 years later, Steve writes
please don't think I'm trying to cause you pain, but, black raspberries... God...
I think he's talking about nipples but I'm not sure. If so, what does it mean that we have separate nipple memories from that trip?

What does it mean that I remember very little about him, the first boy I ever loved? After a few hours of consideration, two ideas have surfaced.

1: The unforgettable male lover in my life came 16 years later. Memories of him displace those of any men before him and eclipse those of all men after him (so far).

2: I come up with scant specific memories older than a decade or so about anyone outside my family.

Maybe other memories of our relationship (what IS the word? 'relationship is waaaaaaay to mature a label for what we were doing and 'courtship' sounds ridiculous...) will surface for me if we keep our rekindled connection alive. Maybe the contact and interaction will ring a few bells and I'll remember things I've forgotten. What was it that Zora Neal Hurston just said in Their Eyes Were Watching God?...
Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.
Another idea just dawned:

I'll have to re-read our correspondence (you see what I mean about my memory?) but so far it seems all of Steve's memories are from late in our time together. He doesn't have much from the time we were both in school and spending lots of time together. His memories start after the red dress weekend.

For me, after the red dress weekend, there was no future for us. Apparently I went through the motions for awhile but didn't pay close enough attention to make memories.

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