Of Memory and Making

Prompt: A memory from your chosen character. by in_the_blue. Writing Challenge

So this wouldn’t have happened if in_the_blue hadn’t done her writing challenge and graciously offered an example of how to work with story memories. So here goes.


Liana Mir

Series Listing

-02 yr. 02 mo.

Of Memory and Making

00 yr. 03 mo.

Remembering Lena

00 yr. 05 mo.

Winter Rose

00 yr. 06 mo.

Late Return

00 yr. 06 mo.

When the Clock Chimes

Childhood

Once Upon a Time

Of Memory and Making

What makes a person who they are?

Ashelynn likes her boyfriend’s easygoing nature, so it catches her by surprise when he suddenly isn’t, when the idea that our memories make us who we are nearly drives a rift between them.

-02 yr. 02 mo.
Seven Days Fantasy
Flash Fiction Short Story

“Memory’s a fickle sort of thing,” Connor cut over his girlfriend, mouth a grim line, suddenly surprisingly intense.

This sort of thing always surprised her because normally Connor was the easygoing one in school, took everything in stride, and shrugged off the small disasters of college like they really were just that—small. It’s what Ashelynn liked about him. It’s why when he stopped being easygoing, it shut her up—like now.

Elsie blinked at them, shoulders stiff with tension. Jake scooted his arms back off the table and leaned back, as if backing off from the redhead Connor. Didn’t seem to have an Irish temper, that one, but you never could tell. Rudi shrugged and bit into his sandwich.

Normal school lunch, laughing and talking until they got on why people were the way they were, and Ashelynn thought it was because of the things they remembered and chose to remember. Normal until it wasn’t.

“Fine then,” she snapped back, tired of getting blindsided for the umpteenth time since knowing him. “Memory’s fickle. Isn’t that the point?”

His mouth straightened a little more, tight shut. He shook his head, slid off the bench, and walked away out of the cafeteria, dumping his tray on the way out.

Ashelynn felt her mouth drop open and she snapped it shut and glanced back at the rest of her friends.

Elsie sniffed. “I may not have a boyfriend, but I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to go after him.”

Ashelynn scrambled her things together, looked at her lunch tray.

“Leave it,” Rudi said, so she did.

~

She found Connor out by the wall surrounding manicured lawns and staring off into a blue sky puffy with clouds. She wrapped her arms around herself against the wind’s chill as she stepped up behind him.

“Connor, I’m sorry.”

He turned his head, then shook it and looked back. “So am I.”

Little things. Sharp words. Apologies. Reaching out and hugging his arm, leaning her head against his shoulder, wondering if she would ever handle a relationship with the grace her mother did. Connor slid around, braced his back on the wall, and hugged her properly. It felt good for a moment, really good.

“We’re not made by memory,” Connor murmured into her hair.

Ashelynn wondered if she should ask what he meant, wondered how he knew so certainly. She opened her mouth then closed it and held on a little tighter. Some questions left better off unasked. When she pulled away, he held onto her hand as they walked back, but his focus seemed to be elsewhere, lost in thought or memory.

~

His twin, Wesley, never had that great of a memory. Connor had that figured out by the time they were four, five years old—long enough ago that he didn’t really have a date for it. They would make up new games together and a few days later, Wesley would forget them—and just about everything else.

“Wesley, it’s time to get up!” Connor tugged at his brother’s covers in exasperation.

The sun was shining and surely they hadn’t been up that late. But Wesley stubbornly clung to his covers, brown head buried in comforter and sheets. Connor tugged again and Wesley just made a small annoyed sound and burrowed deeper.

“Wesley!”

It was a normal morning, tug of war with the blanket, trying to force his twin to open his eyes in the brilliant beams of a new day, and Mom coming in and chuckling at the both of them. Then Wesley did open his eyes at last, tousled and sleepy, and looked up at their laughing mother. He blinked twice and asked, “Who are you?”

She stopped laughing.

The bottom fell out of Connor’s world that day, ran into an endless whirlwind of tests and doctor’s and fathers crying when men weren’t supposed to cry. “There’s something wrong with the transitioning to long-term memory,” doctors whispered. “He essentially loses a little bit more every day until by the end of the week, it’s totally corrupted during the sleep cycle.” Tuesday. Wesley and Connor were born on a Tuesday, and every Monday night Wesley was born again.

~

Connor paused in the doorway to the school and blinked back to the here and now and Ashelynn, staring up at him hopefully now that he was with her again. He held onto her shoulder and almost tightened his grip, almost told her that Wesley was always still Wesley, no matter how often he forgot, no matter how often he remembered. But for only a moment.

He couldn’t bring himself to tell her if she didn’t really want to know. She would always be Ashelynn, worry-free, care-free Ashelynn who smiled and laughed and tried to lighten him up when he got too serious—no matter what he told her.

#


Seven Days Fantasy

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5 Responses to Of Memory and Making

  1. Kabobbles says:

    I was hoping to see an explanation for why Wesley had that kind of trouble with his memory. I'm glad I did. :)

    Poor Connor. Must be terrible to watch someone he cares about go through that.

    • Liana says:

      I'm actually waist-deep in another piece (pygmy-inspired) that got more into this, so turned out this rolled off a lot faster than I thought it would. And yeah, it's tougher on Connor than Wesley most days. But that easygoingness seems to run in the family.

  2. G.J. says:

    People are so funny with what they choose to reveal and what they choose to keep hidden. I like the setup for the memory part of things, kind of a Fifty First Dates take on Connor's childhood. Seeing how the past affects and informs the present is always fascinating, which is one reason I selected this particular prompt for the exercise.

    Nice to have the words flow, isn't it?

    • Liana says:

      Yes! Very nice and thank you. I do think it's funny how in their own way, they're both right, though I was almost surprised that they don't seem to be very good for each other. But personality and character seems to outweigh memory in Connor and Wesley's life, but it's Connor's memories of growing up with all that which affects him so much. He's protective even when Wesley isn't there to protect. Ah, well.

      I also looked up that movie after you mentioned it. I thought it was weird that they said Fifty First Dates wasn't based on a real form of amnesia. Seemed to me, she had pretty basic anterograde.

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