As I venture on this treacherous plateau I wonder: am I walking an overhang that will crumble under the weight of a hereto undiscovered reality? Will some ‘fact’ be revealed as fiction? What is certain? Which is the nightmare or dream; what is truth, and where the lie?
“You’ll never know,” a good friend advised me. He knows a little about me; not much, but we’ve been friends for the majority of our lives. “And you’re just gonna have to accept that. There’s some things about yourself you’re never gonna find out – or know.”
But you can’t help but wonder. Those images. They play in your head sometimes – disconnected scenes. And wonder: Which were dreams and which memories of something real?
These are memories I keep on the Refuse Pile. Refuse – now there’s a word with two meanings. One means trash: The Trash Pile. The other is as in ‘to deny‘, a refusal to acknowledge. So do I refuse the refuse? Good question there.
First: I can’t get rid of them. They are there – down to the sensations, aromas, drone of a plane; sweat rolling down my body, tickling my skin . . . grit of sand and smell of swamp . . . like this:
The Map Room with its enclosed darkness, table and men standing around waiting for me to give them an answer. I’m being tested for how well I can read. I can ‘see’ the topographic map in 3D, having learned to visualize things extremely good . . .
The Mountain garden which wasn’t a garden, but a pass where I’m little and wading through hip-high grass, following others, sweating, watching black painted DC-10’s go over, wading through the grass, following the other kids, some of them teenagers . . . and the aching ‘wanna go home’ feeling so bad . . .
The bunkers. Several, images: but no location. Just ‘somewhere overseas’. No accounting for them . . .
Survival class, out in the field. Did I really eat that? Watching that lizard crawl around my leg, then snatching him up . . . strange things, lessons . . . ‘stuff’ . . .
And I wonder: are these dreams? or what? If not ‘real’, where did they come from? Why are they there? Did my dad hypnotize me? I know he kept trying, though I have no memory of him succeeding. Did ‘they’ plant a suggestion to ‘train’ through nightmarish simulations I made up in my own mind? It seems almost every dream I ever had was about war. War and loss, all the time . . . until I grew heartsick of it. Truly and really sometimes. (feeling sad here.) And even then the dreams kept on . . . plaguing me.
I have nothing to support these memories. Nothing “leading in”, nothing “leading out”. No memory of ‘going’, no memory of getting back. Just a fog, like something lurking in fog barely defined if at all. These “Refuse Pile” memories have no definite beginning, end, or location. But I’m there . . . living in them . . .
Memories are untrustworthy fiends and untrustworthy friends. We build our lives on them, our responses are based on them. We are the sum of our experiences plus whatever wisdom or knowledge one might carve from them. Just because you’ve lived a bit of history doesn’t mean you have to repeat it – you can go on to another lesson.
But there they are and I am here and I doubt. I tell myself: What’s it matter? What IF they are real? Does it make any difference in the here and now? None that I can see. That’s all over. Would it matter now? Hell no. A bunch of useless Cold War knowledge now, given modern warfare, its tactics and changes . . .
Can’t see where it makes a difference . . . so schlopp it on the refuse pile.
I do know this: it could be far worse than useless to go down those rabbit holes, pursuing them. That can be dangerous. Why? Because you can delude yourself into dreaming up more crap, if you take my hint, or you might. I’ve always been the ‘creative child’. I’ve won awards since first grade. I made my living through my creative skills. I know ‘they’ (the professionals) have said it takes a creative child to create an alter. Maybe so. I don’t know. You can’t examine something like that from the inside.
So is it a possible “someone” had dreams – and their nightmares became my reality? Making me think they were real? That could explain the lack of a ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ to each leaf on the Refuse Pile – just that ‘fog’ . . .
I don’t know. And I gotta be fine with that.
Those are the most famous words in my life, often said. “I don’t know” contains power by admitting weaknesses; it is the plow, cutting evenly through weaknesses and perceived strengths by forcing the mind to ask questions. And while this drive can perhaps reveal memories, nightmares and abuse with the startling alacrity of truth . . . could it also be that the highly creative mind, under pressure to resolve this thing or that, creates a memory to accommodate its benefactor – that is, one part making something up for another just to get ‘someone off their back’? Your subconscious just plain tricking you?
Not knowing, I take no path: I stand before the Pile. To what end would the truth serve? Would it give me anything I don’t have now? Perhaps I should take learning to leave some things on the Refuse piles as a lesson . . .
Who knows. I don’t. But I know what I desire. Happiness, of course, but something else . . . something that gnaws like a little gnawing rat on my glow of cheesy happiness . . . wondering, perhaps to discover who I am, or was perhaps? Trying to place where ‘this memory’ or that one came from – and why? Looking at those leaves – memories I cannot leave for I can’t “unremember” – and yet I refuse to acknowledge. For it IS like watching leaves in the wind, presenting one side, then the other that reads: Truth or Fiction.