May 6th, 2013

house of secrets, house of memories

Shinigami Twine - Painful Memories from Amy Goh on Vimeo.

There is a house that is buried deep within me like a seed; even though I am grown, I can feel it still germinating, its branches piercing the lining of my arteries, my heart. One day, it will pierce my flesh and I will become an extension of it, fated to sing its song for eternity.


I reach back. The memory’s dingy, a dark mushed creature in the back of my mind. I can feel its contours, shaped like an octopus; wet against my fingers, its tendrils winding around my hand, around my neck. Gently, I caress it; it is moist, damp with the weight of all the mornings of my life; dew-like, encrusted with sand from the corners of my eyes. I pry it gently away to examine its contents, peeling each crusted skin away from the center where its heart lies pulsing like the gentle soul-beat of a tiny starfish.

Back, back--  Where did it all begin? Perhaps, it was with the weight of secrets that, coalescing, formed a dark and brooding shroud, a shroud that saturated the deepest cellared corners of my childhood house. I remember clearly those corners, now a shadow of a shadow, layered by time; each minute, each year and decade piled on top of the next so this dank bedroom is dingy in my mind with the memory of all its accumulated ghosts. I am evacuating now, evacuating because all I have are the tools of my mind. Because memory is a dried capsized creature conjured on the self’s shores like an unexpected surprise. Because there is that need to evacuate, to come to terms. And so I breathe in, and gently pry--

Yes, the house. That house. My childhood home of darkened corners, damp with the smell of stale shadows in my memory. Shadow, because shadow is form rendered in grey, ill-seeming and imprinted gently on the plate of the mind. I remember myself at that time, wide-eyed, absorbing everything. My skin was a membrane that sucked feelings and emotions out of the air like an amphibian breathes water. I was utterly one with this marshland of a room, roaming its entrails as though in my element. Yet I was also sun-dazed, starstruck by the marvel of existence. That I was here, a kernel of a self within a body sitting upon this bed with fabric of blue so startling it imprinted its insides into the template of my being. I remember clearly how I did not see or feel so much as absorb the textures, shapes and colors of everything around me. People walked in as beings of light and dark, faint and ill-defined or bright and scorching. In this embryonic stage, my world swirled consistently between waking and dreaming, between darkness and light, so that when I closed my eyes I feared that the deep of dreams would drown me and I would never awake.

The obsession with words, with prayers, spells and invocations. To say is magical. Words had power. I had to measure each syllable, cut it close to my skin so I could feel it as part of myself. I became frugal with words, for to say was to be, was to conjure up a world of significance. I remember clearly now: enclosed in my silence, I wore it like a protective shroud. A faint belief arose, heavy with the imperative of life and death: words were finite vehicles. I only had a finite amount of them to use within my lifetime. They could not be wasted. And thus, I closed the door to speech and watched, absorbed, was.

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