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Veronica Varlow
  -  Adventures On The Road   -  The Memory Collectors In a Foriegn Film Afterlife

Picture 121
I woke up bleary eyed
this morning
with no regrets.
I played music with my friends
and sang into the night
until the moon moved towards
shifting places
with the sun
in the sky.

I woke up late
not having anything written for the Danger Diary today.
With songs swimming in my head
and no other thoughts.
So I asked you.

John Holmes and Sarah Whiterabbitdays
on the other side of the world
wanted to know about my memories….
Picture 122

There was this foreign film I saw years ago.
Where everyone had died
and they were in this place between life and the afterlife.
But before they went off to the great beyond,
they had to pick
memory of their entire lives to recreate.
It would be filmed and then it would be put in a canister with their name on the label.
And then they could go on to that Next Place
with that one memory preserved in a library
full of a world of people’s memories.

After seeing that film, I wondered what my one memory of my life would be.
It’s just too hard of a question.
There’s already been too many moments that I would want to choose
and I’m nowhere near done.

I wondered what moment my Grandma Helen would have chosen.
I wondered what moment my friend, Jeff, would have chosen.
I wondered what moment that Greta would have chosen.

And in the Afterlife, if I came across this library of memories, would I search for their names, set up an old projector and watch?

So I ask you:

What is just one of the memories that you would pick?

What is one memory good enough to be in a film canister with your name on it?

I wanted to pick a simple one today.
A quiet one.
Not a wild, big moment.
But a simple unexpected memory to share:
Picture 123

I was behind the wheel of a van painted with tropical fish.
There was mud on my heels from running around at Carhenge.
On the phone – a voice in my ear
of my oldest newest friend.
He said:
Look, you’ve gotta stop for a second. If you’re worried that you aren’t going to make it -you’ve got to throw all that out the window. You just need to get rid of that. Look around and be in this right now, don’t let this adventure go by.

It was dark.
I looked to my left and the moon was big and low
beside me.
Everyone else was asleep
and no one would see me
….so I did it.

I rolled down my window
raked my fingers across my chest as if they were gathering
all the fear and doubt that hid there
I pulled them from me
and with my hand balled in a fist
put my arm out into the cold night air
and opened my palm
to let

I watched for the next mile marker in the dark
so that I could know exactly which mile number
I left all my fear behind
in Arkansas.

My muddy heel pressed down on the gas.
My empty fingers
held out
to be cleansed
by the chilly air.

The moon was the only witness
to this

Niney was curled up in my lap asleep.
Burke was leaned sideways in the passenger seat
Aubrey was curled up on the couch bed behind my seat
I looked at her face in the rearview mirror.
Looked at Burke beside me.
Petted the top of Niney’s little sleeping head.
The Adventurers
I love.

Ahead of me
there was no one on the road.
Behind me
there was no one on the road.
The sky was open
full of more stars than I had ever seen in my life.
The wheels on the van hummed
against this road
in the middle of nowhere.

And at that moment
I had no idea what the outcome would be
But at that moment
I knew how lucky I was

I knew
how lucky I was.

Tell me
what is one of your memories?

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