How the memory can slay us.
Idly watching an old episode of Mr Bean when a memory of a way of being cuts in forcefully.
As Mr Bean unlocks the door of his hotel single room, I am slammed back more than 20 years in time.
I remember needing to go – from time to time – to such an anonymous room in an anonymous hotel.
The very atmosphere of such places – scrupulously cleaned, vacuous smelling, devoid of character – seeming to call me to the most bizarre acts of Self annihilation I have ever encountered.
For, taking with me a fresh, raw pigs heart which had purchased at the nearby butcher , or else a sheep’s head, also raw, I would cocoon myself in this sterile environment and drink a couple of bottles of vodka until I passed out. I would awaken some time later, pay my bill and walk home.
I am horrified as I remember these incidents. Shocked into cold stillness at my core at the self loathing these memories represent. My need to utterly destroy myself seems revolting, pitiful and..strange.
It is as though I have nothing in common with this woman of twenty years ago – not character nor mind nor soul – except for memory.
If it wasn’t for the force and clarity of these remembrances I would probably be denying that I could ever behave in such a shocking, self-destructive manner. And yes, I know this is the sine qua non of the alcoholic – the need to somehow kill the Self. I find it so painful to accept that this was indeed me a couple of decades ago that I wrestle and writhe within the recollection. How could I do that?
I don’t know, and don’t know and may never know with any crystal scientific clarity the reasons and the mechanism behind this. And perhaps it is enough not to know. Just to realise that I have travelled so far on this road that I feel the only thing connecting me to that strange and awful woman is continuity of memory. For I do not recognise her at all.