When I was 16, I spent a summer in Fivemiletown, Northern Ireland. I slept on a military cot in the parish hall of an Anglican Church. That summer I met Amanda, who was 18 at the time. We cut each other’s hair, played music together (she, violin; I, piano), and ate banoffee pie.
After that summer, she decided not to go to college and moved to Northern Ireland permanently from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. We kept in touch, wrote letters, emails.
On the cusp of her 21st birthday, she asked me to write the word “free” and connect it to a tree, which she ended up tattooing on her wrist.
Five years later, I finally get to see the tattoo, AND her 4-month-old girl Acacia Poppy. A sweet reunion for friends kept apart by oceans for way too long.
memory is your greatest ally and your primary source material, because memory is your body as it was in the world and the world as it was and will be; memory is the people you have loved or wanted to love in the world, and what are we if not bodies filled with reminiscences about all those ghosts in the sunlight?Hilton Als