We used to own goldfish. There were two of them, Swimmy and Splashy, and they lived in an old television that we stuffed with a fish tank and placed over our kitchen sink.
I know this because I wrote about them in a poem. I know about the poem because I found it today, while sorting through some of my portfolios from back when I was a creative writing major who wrote poems about things like goldfish.
But here’s the funny thing: neither Mitch nor I remember the goldfish. A dim, blinking light in the back of my memory confirms something about the television fish tank but little about the fish themselves (though presumably, they were gold). I don’t remember feeding them; I’m guessing that they died.
Maybe it’s my impending class reunion, or perhaps the second glass I’ve wine I’m working on now, but I’m a bit sad that we had so completely forgotten that detail about our first years of marriage. What else have we forgotten? I’m sure there are things that didn’t merit a poem that we don’t remember and so don’t miss. (Some of them did get a poem, but I’m still perplexed about the event that inspired it. For example, I found one titled “On the Way to Your Wedding,” but I have no idea whose wedding we were en route to.)
I’ll take a happy stance here, though, and suggest that so many good things have filled our memories over the course of the last eight years that there’s hardly space for remembering two simply named fish. We’ve lived in many small spaces with quirky neighbors and haphazard decor. We’ve made meals, hosted parties, taken up hobbies (and dropped them), lost objects, purchased new ones and seen friendships ebb and flow.
These years have been full, and they have been sweet. If I’m sorry to lose the memory of certain seasons, it’s a comfort to know that the ones I do remember are lovely, and the ones that I’ve forgotten aren’t gone. They may not be tucked away in an accordian file of old poetry, but someone does remember them, and He will remind me of them when they’re needed.