Theo's eyes rolled in his head and the bumping of the train elicited stranger and stranger sounds from his open mouth. His head rested on my shoulder but since he is quite a bit bigger than I am his entire body seemed to cave over me like a medieval ruin that has been on the verge of collapsing for the past four hundred years.
The family opposite us just stared. I assumed they were folks from the country on a trip to the city since they were all wearing bright but hideous checkered shirts, the father, the mother and the two boys. I have yet to encounter something so disrupting to my psyche as an ill-fitting short sleeved checkered shirt, four in a row in varying colours and intensity was particularly disturbing. So they sat there like Christmas presents. The mother whispered to the boys not to stare. "This is what happens when you take drugs", I imagined her saying. The father glanced away in politeness.
Was it the weight of expectation or was it just Theo that was crushing me? I don't know. I closed my eyes tight, trying to block out the needling pain that follows sleep deprivation. In the blinding morning light, the memory of Cassie silhouetted by the flames became so far fetched that I had to will myself back into the memory.
Sometimes it really be like that. Sometimes one keeps a memory like a secret room in a house where one can disappear into and bask in the reconstructed feelings. But my room felt thin and translucent.
With something like sight or smell, you can really hold onto them in your mind. I guess it's because it requires some processing before it's actually embedded as a memory. Everything you see has to go through your eyes and everything you smell through your nose. Those organs somehow synthesise the world to something the brain can understand.
But touch. Oh, touch. The entire body is a receptor, and an immediate and unthinking one at that. I could very clearly picture Cassie in the flames and rising smell of the mud but I could not recreate the pressure of her lips on mine nor the softness of her hands. I feel like touch bypasses the brain and hits you in the heart but that also means the poor brain doesn't really stand a chance of recreating it. But I guess the flipside is that the heart does, in it's own weird and inarticulable way.