Human mind is, ah, what’s the word? Weird. No, perhaps it’s not weird. It’s complex. It’s complicated. It’s random, and somehow, it really has a mind of its own.
Once in a while, I remember some remnants of my half-forgotten childhood. My memory has never been my strongest forte, and yet at times, my brain gives me back something that I thought was lost.
Feelings at that exact time and place. The details are always blurry, but I can always know for certain the feeling that accompanies it.
Why am I saying this? Because last night, I remembered. I remembered the time when I was eight, or perhaps nine. I was in class of around thirty students and a teacher was holding a book on the far left corner. I think we were studying some boring subjects, because I couldn’t really remember what had been said.
What I remembered is: the classroom door that was suddenly opened, and three words uttered by another teacher, ‘Mr. Samuel died.’
My teacher – the one who was holding a book and trying to hold our attention – dropped everything in an instant and sprinted towards the door without so much as a glance towards us. We were left there, aged eight, or nine, trying to comprehend what had just happened and what it meant.
Mr. Samuel died.
Of course, I didn’t actually remember the teacher’s name who died. I didn’t even remember his face. In my memory, he was a man in his late 20s with average build and height. And he was dead. So I gave him a name. Mr. Samuel. Later, we found out that there was a motorcycle accident, and he died on the way to the hospital.
I’ve never been taught by him, but I remembered the day he died.
I remembered: the silent classroom – some students began to cry and console each other; the dark hallway – classroom windows, which usually brought in some light, looked terribly cold that day; and the soft sobs of teachers who gathered at the end of the hall – such youth, they murmured, such sadness.
I remembered not being sad, but bewildered. I remembered I was confused why I was not sad, so I forced myself to shed a tear. It wouldn’t come out.
On why I remembered, I’m not sure. Perhaps my brain chose to retain this memory because it was the first time I heard the words, ‘He died’. Perhaps because it left my world shaken, even just for a little bit, for that moment, at that exact time.
Perhaps because this has always been a piece of me, even when I don’t know the memory exists.
Photo by Evan Leeson, Creative Commons