I ran into one of my high school sisters. Embarrassingly enough, I had to confess to her that I forgot her name. We recognized each other at the same time in the train station. But she acknowledged me first.
Oh, Hi! You look familiar.
Yes. Where did I meet you at? Did you attend Fordham or do you go to…
You forgot me? Really?
No, I remember you. I just forgot your name and…
SJB! We met in high school. You were a year older than me!
Ohhhhhhhh, shucks! Right. right.
Do you remember my name?
No. No. I’m so sorry. What is it again?
Oh…..yeah. Opeyemi! I remember now! How are you?
After a short moment of ohhhing and ahhing to convince Opeyemi that I really did remember her, we embraced and spoke for a long time.
Majority of the conversation was her reminding me about high school. Actually, my memory was depending her hers and vice versa. I could not remember who she hung out with, some of the teachers we shared, and even if we shared friends (which it turned out that she knew all my friends and sisters!).
She kept on bashing me (in a kind way) for forgetting her. “How could you forget me? I’m hurt.” But, I really didn’t forget her. I simply forgot her name….and some high school moments. Or maybe they were replaced by other moments which made other memories dormant? Perhaps they were waiting for Opeyemi to come along and ignite them. Isn’t that’s what memories are, bits of information that sits in our head until time tells us to use it?
One thing I do remember about high school is sitting in Ms. Kurtz’s biology class and zoning out. She was talking to the class about the difference between long term and short term memory. I was staring outside and something she said about long term memory drew me in.
Ms. Kurtz, can you give an example of long term memory? I asked.
Lystria, if a cute boy walks up to you today and tell you that you are pretty and gorgeous, you will remember that for a long time. That’s long term memory. He made you feel good. Your emotions were evolved. But, these notes? you will not remember them. Unless you study, and you still may forget them…..
I kid you not, I did not even pay attention to anything else she had to say. I kept on day dreaming about that cute boy.
When Opeyemi scorned me for forgetting, I blamed it on age but that didn’t work being I was only one year older than her. However, now that I am still thinking about the situation, I think it does have something to do with age. I was Opeyemi’s older sister in high school. She and her friends all looked up to me. I tutored and counseled with them. This made her remember me. I also was an ambassador for my school which meant I was always meeting freshmen. Every year. And being paired with new students. While most of the upper class men were busy with just their friends, I knew students from every year. That’s a lot of people to remember now! Had it been the other way around, she probably wouldn’t remember my full name!
I think how I treated the freshmen and welcomed them into my school, made memories stick with them. I can’t even remember all of my close friends from high school.
The words poet Maya Angelou said are true: …people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel, this good feeling of nostalgia showed up in our ability to pick up our companionship. However, I think the quote should read, people will forget your name too.