a fragmentary moment under glass.

I lost my grandmother not even a month ago. Perhaps only a matter of weeks. I can’t recall because of the distance between us — but I also can’t recall because I’m calloused; I’m cold. Cold from faded memories, yes, but unformed memories, even more. They were never full thoughts; only years of missing touch.

Framed atop her television, our best memory is relived — through every drive-by tale to every passerby — because photographic accessibility catapults isolated memories to stardom, to become the very “best” ones, separated from all the rest.

Yet this best memory is only a caricature, which represents not one true moment, but the culmination of many true moments. It captures me, at preschool age: just a bossy little monkey perched high atop grandma‘s sofa, happily picking at her classically permed locks. She minds it not. She smiles the perfect smile of an overjoyed grandmother, as her fingers arc up, frozen in time, in reaching response to mine.

And then, after one year of closeness, my father and I leave, and she stays. Oceans separate us for the remainder of her life, so that this framed memory holds more merit for others than for us.

It’s a mirror: where the ungenerated brain of my youth meets the degenerated brain of her old age, symmetrical in unknowing. Where folded between past and present time, our memories are nevermore, because for me, they never were.

Two years ago, I went to Taiwan, and I met her in this space.

Two years preemptively, I said goodbye. As her capacity was fading, I said goodbye — knowing too clear and too early, that the thread could grow no stronger.

I lost my grandmother not even a month ago, and I can’t keep track of the time. All I know, immortalized in photos, so far from present time.