I don’t have a great memory. Sometimes my friends think I do because I post blogs based on memories. The truth is: all memories are fiction. Nobody can remember exactly what was because even what was, wasn’t really uniform when it was occurring. Everything that happens is subject to each individual’s personal perception of the events. Our interpretation affects our ability to recall and subsequently recount things objectively. It’s easy to edit and crop those memories both consciously and subconsciously. Some of us just do it more than others.

My most vivid memories tend to be the bad ones. I tend to cling to the details like they’re responsible for the pain. Like the fact that I broke up with my ex boyfriend Paul on a Sunday, at 10:52pm on the first day of February is somehow tied together with the anguish. With my memories of that night. The pain is forever.

But happiness is fleeting. For some reason, I have much more difficulty remembering the good moments. The details of fun-filled days slip away from me so quickly. I guess I’m too busy enjoying myself that I forget to keep track of what’s happening. Then the feelings don’t last.

One of the best days I’ve experienced in my adult life happened shortly after Paul’s brother Mark bought a newer, bigger boat than the one he’d owned the previous summer. This boat had an entire apartment in the downstairs portion of the boat. Mark, his wife Anette and their toddler daughter Frankie spent almost every weekend of the summer on the boat. One weekend, they invited me and Paul to join them.

The plan was that we’d go to some sort of party spot near an island that was only accessible by boat. I can’t tell you which island because I don’t remember its name. I can’t even locate it on a map. I’ve tried. All those memories are gone. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention. Maybe I didn’t ask enough questions.

We road on the boat for some indefinite amount of time. Somewhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours, if I had to guess. All I remember is enjoying the ride. Sitting back. The sun’s strong rays penetrating my skin. The breeze from the speed of the boat blowing back my hair. A mist of water keeping me cool. A generous amount of alcohol running through my bloodstream. I felt euphoric.

We must have anchored the boat and taken in the scene. The water beneath us was a crystal blue that looked better suited for the Caribbean sea than a lake in central Ontario. We were surrounded by boats like our own. They were also anchored and filled with groups of people soaking in the sun, eating, drinking, listening to music. Some people were swimming, and others had set up chairs and towels on the shores of the sandy island. The glorious sun overhead coloured this entire picture with a hazy golden hue. It was like an aquatic summer festival. I felt light years away from my suburban life and my day job.

At some point, I ventured off the boat to use the public restroom on the island. I must have swam there. I must have been wearing a bathing suit. But I can’t remember which one. The whole idea of jumping off a boat and swimming to shore doesn’t sound like me at all. I must have persuaded Paul to come with me, but I don’t remember that part. Sometimes I wonder if the entire day was just a dream my subconscious concocted. Unfortunately, I’m not in the position to ask anyone about it anymore.

Before, or maybe it was after, using the lavatories I was approached by a small boy. Either a boy or a girl. A small child. He unclenched his chubby fist and triumphantly revealed a teeny tiny frog he had caught. It was so cool! I dropped to my knees to examine it, wanting to pet it. I can’t remember if I did before it hopped out of its captor’s hands and back into the water.

Somehow I ended up back on the boat, sitting next to Paul, our legs dangling in the water. I don’t know where it came from, I’m not sure of my reasoning, but my mouth spoke the words, “let’s smoke a cigarette!”

Maybe that was how I was trying to preserve that good feeling. I was living in the moment. And in the moment, I’d decided smoking a cigarette would feel really good. I’m sure Paul shot me a quizzical look after I said that. Neither of us were smokers. Anette was though, and Paul obliged, obtaining both a cigarette and a lighter.

Paul lit it up and took the first puff. I eagerly lifted my hands from below the water’s surface and took the cigarette from him. By the time it made it to my mouth it was soggy and limp. Oh, how we laughed.

I’m sure a bunch of other stuff happened too. Or maybe we just headed back to reality after that moment. Who knows. But it sure was a blast while it lasted. Silly, fun, exciting. The feelings, I remember quite clearly.

Sometimes days surprise us. Sometimes days are so good that you forget to pay attention to the details. You just live enthusiastically and impulsively. Little details become simply irrelevant in contrast to the joy of the day. You don’t have to have a good memory on those days.

Some of my favourite memories are the ones I can barely remember.


21 thoughts on “The Boat Ride

  1. Sometimes, we’re, too used to being told that what we feel isn’t valid, but it is, to us, and so, if we allow someone else, to tell us what we should or shouldn’t feel, then, we’re, allowing others to control our lives, and, we end up, losing completely control over the most important aspect of our lives, so, do NOT let anybody tell you that your feelings aren’t real, because they are, if to nobody else, at least, they’re, all real, to you!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Feelings are VERY real, yes. The “tricky” part is when tey try to run our lives. Feelings keep life interesting for sure! But Truth transcends fickle emotions, and being able to transcend them ourselves is truly liberating.
        When reading about the personality types, I realized a large part of me was the “melancholy,” having strong, fluctuating emotions. Prayer has been a huge help – not just asking God to change my situation, but making my prayers 90% praise and thanks, continually finding things to be happy about. And praying out loud, I hear my own words, and so often the feeling just follow. Melancholy or not, my friends think of me as a perpetually happy person. And that’s ANOTHER thing to be happy about.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written. It’s interesting what you’re saying. I’ve also had times when suddenly I’ll remember something new and realize that something else I’ve remembered for a long time didn’t quite happen the way I remembered it. I started a second blog recently; much like yours, it is based on memories from the past, but I’m going in chronological order, so it’s an episodic continuing story. And sometimes I have to step back and remind myself that my story is intended to be fiction, so I don’t have to get every single detail just right. And if I did get every detail right, it would be kind of boring, because my life really wasn’t all that exciting all the time. (At least I say it’s fiction, so I don’t have to explain anything to my friends who knew me back then when I write about things I’m not entirely comfortable sharing. And it was interesting when I gave my mom the link, and the first episode she read was about masturbation, but that’s another story entirely.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You just described my own blog and story writing process entirely! Fiction, edited for effect, but wholly based on “fact” and memories. I’d love to read something from your new blog! Please share the link, if you’d like.

      Thanks for dropping by 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course! Please do! dontletthedaysgoby.home.blog

        I don’t write on any set schedule. Just when I get a good idea. I have an outline of past experiences that I want to write about eventually, but every once in a while I’ll remember something… like last week, I remembered the time I altered an election campaign bumper sticker, and I realized that this event would have happened right where I am in the story right now, so I changed plans and wrote about that. DLTDGB is a little different from yours in that I’m going in chronological order, but, for example, if I happen to remember something noteworthy that happened in October 1994 and the story is in November 1994 right now, I can always work it in later and fudge the timeline, because ultimately this is fiction. 🙂

        I wrote a novel off and on a few years ago (just for fun) which was also partially based on the same time period in my life. So some of the key events of my life I’m going to have to change around a bit so I’m not just telling the same story again. But that’s ok too.

        I haven’t shared this blog with a lot of real life friends from that time period, because I don’t want to dig up anything from the past that might be awkward. One of my friends from that time period asked me about it when I mentioned a new blog in a Facebook post, so I shared it with her, but DLTDGB takes place right after the time when she was a major part of my life (she was a high school friend, DLTDGB is based on my university years), so she’s only going to appear as a minor character (she hasn’t yet).

        I also haven’t ruled out possibly having some episodes of DLTDGB told from other characters’ perspectives. But we’ll see. And I should point out that I’m writing DLTDGB under a pen name, although I don’t remember if you know my real name anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Some people have very good memory. Almost photographic. Since memory is a subjective phenomenon, it is difficult to know if one remembers events and important outcomes or everything around the event. I knew managers who would recall details of past meeting verbatim. I tend to remember events, be it good or bad. More we exercise our brain, memory becomes sharper. Your story was nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m good at remembering very specific details for very random events. I’m also very good at remember exact words people speak, probably because I studied linguistics and part of me is always analyzing their subconscious verbal choices. Or maybe it’s because I’m an English teacher and I’m listening for proper grammar.

      Thanks again 😊


  4. Memories are indeed strange…. It reminds us the most when we try to forget it and vice versa… For me memories are stored in a frozen box when time comes it unfreezes as per the season..

    Liked by 1 person

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