So what is the future again? Every time I think I know, it comes, and then it isn’t the future anymore. It’s not stable, just like me.
I have six questions for you:
- What do you remember about year three?
- What do you remember about your favorite aunt?
- What do you remember about him—yeah, him, you know who I’m talking about.
- What do you remember about your thirty-second birthday? Do not tell me it hasn’t yet happened. Just tell me what you remember about it.
- What do you remember about the kitchen growing up?
- What do you remember about me?
Why bother with memory, when we’re thinking about the future?
Let me tell you what I remember: I remember seeing my reflection in a doorway in a Church and calling myself a dyke in my head. I remember looking at David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust and wondering what, exactly, I wanted. I remember shoulder blades on older women. I remember getting married in a pale blue suit. I remember dying in a train because it seems like the most fashionable way to die.
I have legs. Two of them. Today I scrambled up the side of a mountain and they burned. Tomorrow I will scramble up the side of a mountain and they will burn. Do you hear me yet? Does your body hear me? Listen to your fingernails as they tap on the keys and ask them what they remember. What is memory to a fingernail? What is memory to you?
I don’t think I believe in the future, actually. Actually, I don’t think I believe in the future. Five minutes ago the screen I’m staring at was blank, and I remember that, but I don’t remember what I’m going to write next.
I remember being a girl. I remember not being a girl. I remember trying on my dad’s suits for the first time and I remember chopping my hair off in a dorm bathroom. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think my gender is anything but memory. Echoes of ways I used to feel. Legs burning, mountains climbing mountains. Shoulder blades and Ziggy Stardust. Like flowers in a vase.
I don’t think I believe in the future, but the past hasn’t broken free yet. It’s trying to, and then I guess I won’t have a past to believe in, either. I’ve lost harder things than that. I’ve lost memories before.
C. M. Green (they/them) is a Boston-based writer and theater artist with a focus on history, memory, gender, and religion. Their work has been published in fifth wheel press, Bullshit Lit, and elsewhere. You can find their writing at catmaxinegreen.com, or follow them on Twitter @cmgreenery.