Some memories remain intact because they are milestones: first kiss, graduation, wedding, birth, death. Other memories are sustained by our perception of them: a great night out (or a really awful one), a trip somewhere, a fantastic concert.
But, sometimes, a seemingly innocuous event is branded into your memory like a tattoo. An outsider observing the memory may think it is nothing. Forgettable. But you know better.
When I was thirteen, my mother separated from my abusive, most likely clinically insane step-father. She sent me to stay with my uncle in southern California for the summer, while she and my sister moved our belongings out of his house.
When I came back to Reno from SoCal, summer was almost over, and I was getting ready to start my freshman year of high school. We had moved into a small property close to the UNR campus. It had two bedrooms, one bathroom. My sister got one bedroom. My mother got the other bedroom, that was adjacent to the bathroom.
I got the dining room.
I had one door leading to my sister's room, one door leading to my mother's room, and an open doorway (no physical door necessary) that led into the kitchen.
Privacy? Nil. For a thirteen year old girl? Absolute torture.
The week before school started, there was a morning where I had the whole house to myself. My mom was working, my sister was probably off with one of her boyfriends, and I decided to remove myself from my multi-doorwayed room to my mother's much more secluded room. Just because.
I was laying in the bed, half alseep, when I heard a girl's voice. Probably someone a few years older than me. Her voice grew louder and clearer as she moved down the alleyway, and then passed our house. She was singing.
Sometimes I give myself the creeps. Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me. It all keeps adding up, I think I'm cracking up...
I remember laying there thinking: what a weird song. It made me laugh, a little. And then I remember thinking, it sucks that I don't have a room. But, it could be worse. I could be living with the stepmonster. I was lucky I had my mom, and my sister (who hated me, but I still worshipped anyways).
At that moment I knew, somehow, that things would get better, eventually. And they did.
Now, every time I hear that song, I think about that moment, and about how sometimes things really suck, but then they get better.
Thank you, Green Day.