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Memory is a long-exposure photo

Memory is a long-exposure photo. Things that move the least hold the best focus.

Picture a room from your childhood home. Parts of it are so clear, you almost feel you could turn a corner and be there. Your fingers feel the texture of those curtains, and you notice the definite smell of sun-heated windowsills – something you didn’t realise you could remember, and had never thought to recall.

But, then look closer at the picture. What colour is that sofa? Wait, it’s blue – no: beige. That bit of artwork? It’s over there, and it’s a cheesy print in a brass frame. No, that’s in the other room, and what I see is a family-portrait (also cheesy, mind) collage.

But that table, you can picture every scratch, even though the books in the shelf behind it are grey blur. The telly is in the same place, but changes sizes as you squint – getting a bit thinner, with more – than fewer – black boxes beneath it, blinking green and orange leds at different rates.

Your pets seem to be all ages at once. That old dog’s greying snout shares the space of a younger, athletic one, and the puppy with floppy ears before it. But his eyes are clear, and you could reach out now and stroke just behind his ear.

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