Personal stuff, not tech, some fiction

The memory of everything you ever felt

This was a quick exercise just to warm up, about a special kind of hell.

In my first week of being dead I discovered that hell isn’t a place, it’s memory. The memory of everything you ever felt but can never have again. A fresh breeze gently stroking over face, neck and shoulders – that’s what it feels like to be alive.

When you are alive memories are as slippery as a tiny freshly caught fish in your hands and as deceptive as someone getting you to play the shell game at a fun fair. They careen between clarity and fuzziness, sometimes so sharp that you can immerse yourself in believing it’s happening now, and sometimes so far back in your head that it feels like they are being whispered to you from the end of a long, dark tunnel.

In life you take your memories selectively apart, filling in the blanks dug by your own feelings of inadequacy and guilt and making yourself the hero in your own story. When you rode roughshod over someone’s feelings, when you made your partner burst into tears, when you betrayed a friend’s trust: all these things were inevitable, accidents of time, and it was not your fault.

When you are dead, though, all your memories are just there. Linear, logical, and accurate. You can’t deny what happened because you remember every detail, every word that was spoken to you and every footstep you took.

When you are dead, when your memories cannot be hidden, when you have to confront them and truly own them, your story isn’t a story. It’s a history and you cannot hide from it. The moment you die all this becomes clear.

And that is when you know you are in hell.