Every once in a while, some memory from way back will crystallize and hit me like a gut punch. I’ve remembered things like driving out to the musician’s house – a long, confusing drive – to contract him for the wedding; driving to the caterer’s house (which was in the neighborhood behind the Chi-Chi’s where we had the blind date that brought us together) and sitting in her kitchen while we discussed the menu, serving style, and then went over the contract – I even remember her name: it was Carol. And I remember that I really didn’t like her very much.
Those are melancholy memories for me, but they are frequent enough in my recollections that they don’t catch me off guard. Oddly, a memory of being in the kitchen and appliance area of a mall-based store – something to do with a wedding registry- just gave me a mule kick. The memory hasn’t quite come to be clear yet, but I remember enough to know what was going on; parts of it with the absolute clarity of a recorded movie, others still under the haze of the deepest regions of recollection. I specifically remember that this store had two levels, but the second level had two separate sections that were not connected on the second level. I seem to think it was a Hudson’s and suspect it was at Livonia Mall, but that’s just a guess. Could have been Westland or Twelve Oaks, as we frequented those. Might even have been Fairlane.
The last time I recall being in a mall with Kim was late 2014 when we went to the Microsoft Store to buy my Surface, and the time we were at a mall together just prior to that was 2011 after Kim broker her ankle – I took her to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory at Briarwood Mall after she had some appointment or other in Ann Arbor. We used to frequent Westland Mall before 2000 or so. Otherwise, malls were a bit of a rarity – for me, at least.
I’m sure that memory will congeal soon enough, as did the memory of the caterer visit – all the way down to the location of her house and her name. Until then, I’ll have to weather the blows of the individual pieces coming to the surface of my mind, like bits of shipwreck floating up after the vessel has sunk.
(Even as I’m writing this, another memory is fighting its way up – a company picnic for St. Claire Inc. the summer after we married. Cass lake. I remember leaving the apartment to go there. I recall a volleyball game and trying to find a church afterward as we had to go to Saturday Mass due to something happening on Sunday. I remember the church was of the same architecture and construction as St. Mel, my childhood parish…)
They say your life flashes before your eyes before you die. I can attest that the same happens at a slower rate when it’s only half of you that died – when your spouse dies…