post literacy

I Can Still Remember

Short blonde hair

Hazel eyes

Lips the exact color of deep-sea coral, and just as impossible to reach.

I can still remember the exact moment when I first laid eyes on her. She was wearing green, Or maybe it was pink, but it doesn’t matter because she smelled like oranges.

I can still remember the exact moment when she grabbed my hand, her fingers dancing down my arm, until our hands were as intertwined as our hearts. I can remember the rest of the world fading into a chorus singing only for us, and our duet was the main attraction, the pièce de résistance, our soul’s ballet bringing down the house, our spirit’s matinee bringing the audience of teenagers dressed to the nines to their feet in a marvelous standing ovation. It’s a shame the curtain had to drop so soon.

I can still remember how she laughed at the very notion of us being there, her voice like a songbird in the early morning mist, because the whole affair was just so, so cliche

I can still remember the way her cheeks turned more red than a pomegranate, more red than the very fruit of death, when I told her that I’d never felt more alive than when I was with her.

I can still remember the way her eyes softened when she smiled

I can still remember the way her nose was just a little off center, and her left eye was slightly bigger than her right

I can still remember the taste of her lips against mine

I can still remember

I can still remember the exact moment when I woke up.


Now i don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but let me just tell you how strange it is, when you think, no no no when you know, that you have finally found the person you love, the person you were always meant to be with, the person who was made to fill the gaps that have been chipped chipped chipped out of your heart by every past love who had the audacity to hold the pickaxe.

Let me tell you how strange it is to find this person, only to open your eyes and find yourself.

Alone.

In your bedroom.

And you’re confused at first, but then the realization breaks through to you like the dawn streaming through your window that it wasn’t real.

She wasn’t real.

But, that’s not possible, because, see, I can remember so clearly what it felt like to be there with her, and I can remember what it was like to feel whole, like the last pieces of a puzzle, for which there were no instructions had finally come together, after what felt like years of searching for all of the missing pieces, and the picture came into view in all of its grandeur and after all this time, the picture was her, and I can remember what it was like to feel complete.

I can remember what it was like to feel love.

So how can you tell me that it wasn’t real?


You have to put the puzzle away eventually.

No matter how beautiful the picture.

The only thing left to do was forget.

Forget

Forget

Easier said than done

Because my friends, a week passed, then two, and then three, and I could still remember her.

I smell oranges even when there are none

And I become desperate to know if she’s out there

To know if she exists

And that night I spend hours on Google images.

Searching:

“Girls with blonde hair”

“Girls with hazel eyes”

“Girls with off-centered noses”

“Girls with a slightly smaller left eye”

“Girls who exist”

“Girls who are as real as the deep sea coral that I can see in her lips”

“Girls who I love”

“Girls-”

I look at thousands of pictures.

But they aren’t her.


You know, I like to think that I “got over it” eventually

That I got over her

And I know what you’re probably thinking.

“Oh, this girl’s crazy

She’s writing a love poem for someone for some chick who doesn’t even exist

How much glue did she eat in 1st grade?”

Okay maybe you weren’t thinking that, whatever, the point is:

Whenever I feel alone,

Or afraid,

Or like no one will ever be there for me


I smell oranges.

4

Art: the final refuge of the book in a digital and post-digital world.

That sounds depressing, doesn’t it. But it’s not! Books are only a medium. The content will continue to grow and flower, regardless of the delivery mechanism. We love books for their content primarily, don’t we? They give us stories. We don’t have romantic fantasies about tax manuals and the phone book, do we? Books are wonderful because their wonderful, transporting content, right? So it doesn’t matter if they decline.

When I look at a server farm, I see the library stacks. Because that’s what they have in common: they’re both information storage and retrieval systems. But a server farm will give you so many more stories than a library can. Real estate is expective, and books are big and heavy. Do you want to privilege a medium, or do you want more and better content?

Books will still be around to enjoy in the future. And they’ll be beautiful. We just won’t use them as our primary information storage system anymore. And that’s okay.

We can handle it, guys. We can do this.

Children enrolled in the Just Read! program in South Dakota held a reading parade recently. Native American children are at enormous risk of dropping out of school, and more than 80 percent of Native American eighth grade students in South Dakota read below grade level. Read more about the problem and how ChildFund is trying to address it in U.S. communities in need, in my HuffPost piece