...and substitute... what the fuck?
I find Master’s habit of remembering things that never happened as the most difficult of all the things I must adjust to. Before committing to be his slave, I would just roll my eyes, say he was crazy, or remembering some other woman, or dreamed it… I would stubbornly hold onto my reality. Now I cannot do it. Now I must accept his reality and forget my own.
It is the always the most mundane of things… This weekend it was where I bought my first pair of hiking boots… somehow he injects himself into that story… he “remembers” that he was there. He says he bought the boots for me. And I know he was not there… I know exactly when I bought those boots. It was an impulse buy… an unexpected snowy day… a cold wet evening with the knowledge that I was going to be standing, waiting for the bus home. I walked into an upscale department store in downtown Portland and paid what was at that time an extravagant amount of money… $92.00, I even remember buying a pair of gloves too. It was in the bleak years… when then husband was relegated to the role of ex-husband and I was temporarily single. Master was not there. He could not have been there.
Now, years and years later, now when the boots wore out long ago… somehow the conversation turns to boots and he has this memory of something that never happened. It is ridiculous. It is a nothing thing, where a pair of shoes were bought so long ago… but the hard thing is to have ones memories attacked, modified, Master artificially injected into scenes and situations that he was nowhere near.
Master asserts that I am the one that “does not remember”… that I am forgetful… even though my lapses in memory are minor compared to his… and usually specific in nature. I own my numerical challenges… I can do math… I am a whiz at algebra and geometry and equations… but raw numbers… how many of something, or a phone number or a date or price or a time or weight… there is no file drawer in my head for such things… abstract numbers blur and slip away within minutes… I can barely remember important things like my phone number or SSN… I still cannot remember Master’s birthday from one year to the next. So when Master quizzes me about something numerical, I just screw up my face and plea… “you are asking me about numbers again. I can look it up for you if you want.” Because if it is important, I will write it down… I save receipts and have a duplicate checkbook. I know my limitations.
But anyway… Master holds up this forgetfulness for numbers and generalizes it for forgetfulness for places and experiences. He points at me and perhaps projects his own forgetfulness upon me. And part of his forgetfulness is this disturbing habit of fabricating elaborate memories and then insisting I was there and I must “remember” it too… and when I don’t… and it held up as one more piece of evidence of my poor memory… it is a self perpetuating cycle of crazy making.
So I am charged with the task of swallowing down my protests, my better knowledge, of swallowing down my urge to argue and swallowing down that Rubic’s Cube of submission. I can do it. I blink, I know I must look like it hurts all the way down, but all I can do is say, “Really? I don’t remember that”… WHEN I DO.
But I do not know if I can really substitute his reality for my own, forget what I know as fact and edit him into a impulse shopping trip so long ago on a dark, wet, snowy afternoon, where I wore the boots out of the Meir and Frank and stopped and pulled on the gloves before stepping out into the wet driving snow to catch that bus home. I wonder why he would ride the bus… when I never have seen him ride the bus??? Maybe I will have to edit out the bus… but then why would I have wanted the boots… if I was riding home in a warm dry car???