"We were watching TV in her house," my mother tells me about one of her sisters, "and then she stood up and said, 'This isn't my house.' What are all my things doing here? Who moved my pictures and my clothes? I want to go home."
My mother's sister storms out of the impostor house.
"Let me go with you," my mother follows her sister out into the dark street. Her sister walks down the sidewalk, stops and looks around. She spots a house down the block with the lights on. "That's my house. What are those people doing in my house?"
My mother doesn't want her sister intruding on someone else's home. "Why don't we wait in the house?" My mother gestures to her sister's house. "We don't know how long those people will be in there. We can wait until they leave."
Her sister reluctantly agrees. My mother and her sister return to the impostor house and sit down to watch TV. After a while, her sister looks around the living room and mutters "Hmmm..." She doesn't mention her stolen house for the rest of the night.
My mother's sister suffered from diabetes complicated by the onset of dementia.
The fragility of memory.
What separates my memories from impostor memories? What is the barrier between the known and a lost world? Three pounds of gray matter surrounded by cranial fluid and encased in a calcium skull. Synapses firing in the soft tissue. Chemical electricity transmitting molecules. That one is my first day of kindergarten. This one is my first kiss. And the bundle of neurons here is the house I live in.
Will the day come when I mistake this house for an impostor house? How thin is the divide between this world and another?
I have a reoccurring dream where I am at college, but I don't know where my next class is. A class project is due, but I can't remember what the project was. I can't even remember what the class was called. I wake up in a panic, believing I've got to get to school fast. Then I remember, I graduated college over two decades ago. I don't have to go to school anymore. For less than thirty seconds, the dream is reality and today is a dream. Is that what it is like to slip into the world of confusion? I am surging with anxiety for less than a minute. What if I am lost in a porous remembrance for days? Years?
When I write I immerse myself in the world of the manuscripts. I run across the hot asphalt of Burbank Elementary school. I taste coppery-metallic blood in my mouth after falling out of a Mexican sky. I hear police helicopters prowling the streets of downtown Los Angeles. I feel nausea tumbling "weightless" in a rocket bound for a new planet.
I come back to chair under my butt and a keyboard on my lap when I need to edit. Perhaps one day, I won't return.
Just for today, I remember this blog, this post, this sentence.