I am followed by a parade of myself. Nine hundred and twenty three versions of me. Each of them with a memory. We walk around, down the same path, following a different leader as the leaders come about, changed by some experience or event. These specters of my multiple former selves are noisy backseat drivers, commenting on everything I come across. Remember! Remember! Remember! The past is relentlessly and overbearingly in the present.
Tic Tacs are not Tic Tacs but a road trip with my dad and brother to June Lake, eating hamburgers at the Tiger Bar and listening to Seal’s album on repeat with the windows down. Tic Tacs are my friend Agnes taking my big hand with her smaller hand and tapping two or three into a creased palm when I didn’t have any gum.
Hydrogen peroxide is not a disinfectant but the aggressive sting and pink cotton candy bubbles that frothed around my knee as I sat on top of the washing machine while my mom poured capful by capful, clear tears streaming paths down my dirty legs.
Abba Zabbas are the summer I ate them every day.
Kettle corn is my tenure working at a juice bar in high school, standing around in a button-up and khaki pants covered in blueberry stains, my hair tucked into a stupid black hat, talking to someone about their sister’s heroine problem while they cleaned the drain covers with the same brush we used to clean the blenders.
Chanel No. 5 is my mother and a business suit. Braided gold necklaces and the occasional pearls.
Happy Daisy Lotion from Bath and Body Works is a noxious concoction masking trips to Lake Tahoe, sneaking off on bike rides on my own when I wasn’t old enough to do so because it was “dangerous.” I wore cropped tops. Boys yelled out of cars.
Every day an older memory resurges. Every day new ones get tucked away only to be presented in ten years time, shrouded in the sentimentality of getting older.