Memory is a trickster. Your memory is likely not what you think. Mine doesn’t half tell me what I want to know, and sometimes it holds my present mind hostage.
You may know that old post of mine about the man at my window. Like with many life stories I’ve posted here, I did not included every single detail. Some details dragged a story down and didn’t not add anything to the telling. Some details made no sense or would be so tedious to explain, I didn’t bother.
Now, as my obsessive mind goes back to that night (or very early morning), there is a detail that bothers me that I’d often left out of the retelling because it made no sense to me and I could not see how to include it in a concise and interesting fashion.
When I woke up that insanely early morning (between 4 and 5), what I really noticed first, what made me think something wasn’t right, were my curtains. My grandmother had made them, and she made them with these two-inch wide tiebacks made from the same cloth as the curtains. I think that is what you call them. Whatever they are called, I used them to keep the windows open. Since it was a Florida summer night and I wanted as much of the slight breeze as possible, I had used the long strips–each with a plastic circle at the end to hook to a nail in the wall–to keep the curtains open while I slept and also so that if the curtains should flutter in an ever hoped for breeze, they wouldn’t hit me in the face.
But when I woke up, the curtains were hanging straight. The tiebacks had been removed.
And as hard as I try to remember, I can’t remember if the tiebacks were still hanging from their nails, dropped onto the bed, or gone all together.
All I remember wondering was–why would a burglar untie the curtains and take the ties?
I did tell the police the man had undone the curtain, but they acted as if curtains were definitely unimportant. And I often left the curtains out of many retellings because they made no sense–a thief who bothers with curtains. Absurd.
But the curtains are bothering me. All these years, and you have to wonder why I need to think about those tiebacks at all. And perhaps I am imagining things. Maybe my writer’s imagination is making a fool of me.
Why should anything from so long ago disrupt our dreams now anyway?