Kurt’s Imprint Retold


How does one unlearn to forget?

Kurt is a master when it comes to forgetting. There are days he unconsciously leaves his Facebook account open. One time, the youngster in the family ‘rak’ it with a post that says, ‘Hey there folks, I’m gay!’ Furious as he may, an hour or two passed and it has already skipped from his memory lane.

Sometimes, he looks for keys not knowing it just freely swings on his neck. Like last Friday, at rush hour, he searched for his beep card turning his bag in and out, upside down, inside a moving train. Until the last terminal at North Avenue, no beep card showed up.

A penalty of roundtrip fare claimed his freedom away from that third world ala Thomas and friends ride. Because the card was never inside that bag. He will never know. The laundry shop nearest to their apartment imposes a general policy: ‘We are not liable for any items being claimed to have been left in any pocket of your soiled laundry articles. No claim of similar nature and whatever reason will be entertained.’ And then the poor beep card ended as a happy bookmark for that 9-year-old-manila-girl-studying-under-Meralco’s-light-post-waiting-for-GMANews-TV5-Kapamilya to pick her story, run it in their afternoon cast and reach a peak of sensation and instant fulfillment of rags-to-riches plot.

On rare events, at midnight, when most people prepare to reach the climax of their psychoanalytic dreams, he will feel an urge to write. Kurt writes verses – potential lyrics of Kundimam or Pop, he will write a line or two worthy of being liked, shared, and reposted. He will pen his desperation, his frustation when he is at the office, he will account whatever his inner being feels to express to this mad world. But sun up came, none of these he’ll remember as his own. His problem lies not in his being incapable of totally deleting one’s sense of epiphany but in the treacherous characteristics of a person to erratically recollect – concrete recollection of fragmented flashbacks or otherwise non-sequential and disordered pattern – of facts and good-bad-bad-good experiences stored seemingly as a memory. Without him knowing, memories are very selective to the point of inaccurately retrieving our deepest or shallowest nature.

Did he really write it? Did he really forget it? All of those? We do not select accounts of either the long or short term memory. Memories select us. It chases us anywhere, sometimes, when we forgot to lock the bathroom door, or when we were not able to close the windows as the midsummer rainfall came. Memories follow us, sometimes in the form of: The person is not receiving messages from you at the moment or in: content not available; search done, no results found.

But Kurt is not at all forgetful. He knows how painful it is to be hit by a belt with metal head. He can describe in variations the sound rumbling in an empty stomach. He knows that rock salt controls the flavor, savor of a meal.

He knows how it tastes when it is their family’s meal itself. He knows that his cousin cuts his classes to smoke weed in a spot near their school, but he chose to shut up. He also recalls he was in Palawan when 911 happened, Kurt knows his mother kissed her kumpare and that she liked it, very much. He remembers a celebrity Gloria say ‘I am sorry.’ |

Kurt might forget many things, but he is familiar with the horrors of martial rule – and its atrocities. He has been remolding himself for decades now. He may never find his way back home, back to his roots. But he is skilled in arguing why Bantay – the stray dog patroling the Kalayan street, is more genuine and brave than the swearing, mayor-elect in the city where he now lives, its name? He intends to forget.



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