Everything in reverse
Once, Sherlock Holmes, whose words I swear by, has provided us foolish people this incredible nugget of wisdom:
“I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it, there comes a time when, for every addition of knowledge, you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones”
In summary, Holmes cautions that our brain is initially an empty space that is able to accommodate information that we see fit to be processed and stored. If we are wise (and want to remain so), we would be careful with what we take in and ensure that only things that are useful to us will occupy our brain-attic’s limited capacity. Choosing otherwise would be detrimental, especially because all the useful knowledge that SHOULD stay in our brain-attic will be elbowed-out, difficult/inconvenient to retrieve, or even (un)consciously filed in a “do-not-open” storage. What makes the fool and the skillful different is that the former insists on acquiring all sorts of things and hopes that these things will fit in his mind.
I have always been loyal to Sherlock Holmes. But for this particular warning, I am afraid I may have failed you, Mr. Holmes.
Aimlessly I follow
The first time I read about Sherlock’s account on the brain-attic, I didn’t really think much of it. Obviously, the intentional shrug-off was because I did not really find it relevant to my life. Until recently.
Starting 2014, my lack of interest towards Sherlock’s counsel was immediately replaced with desperation to heed his call on maintaining the well-being of my brain-attic. I never realized how important it is to ensure that only the most significant must remain.
But, what if what you think is most important is the very thing (or person) destroying your brain-attic? What if, even as you resolve that a person’s prolonged stay in your brain-attic makes your brain-attic the best version of itself, you are actually lying to yourself because you know very well that what you’ve been making yourself believe is far from the truth? What if, the very person you continue to allow to occupy your mind, is also the very same person who elbows other well-meaning people out from staying?
Given all these concerns, if Holmes or Doyle were alive right now, I would’ve wanted to ask them how they would deal with a messed-up brain-attic caused by a painful breakup. To be blunt about it.
Since then, I have consistently been writing about how my mind is such a huge troll that is out to get me sometimes. My memory would usually mock my tendency to forget and highlight my ability to remember things (and people) that should be forgotten.
Usually, I consider myself a victor over my troll mind. But there are unfortunate times, sadly, when my mind would just laugh at how I even try.
My love, your voice, your songs, the sound of the rain. These are only few of what can successfully bring me back to those days when you still call me "my love", to which I respond with "Sweetarts".
And, before I know it, there I was, aimlessly following at the behest of my troll mind again.
Where timing is kind to us
In a parallel universe, maybe we would be alright.
Maybe instead of our goodbyes, my brain-attic would just contain all your hey’s. That “heyyy…” that eventually leads to really long conversations until the wee hours that we do not regret for one second. Or that “hey!” that tells me I am wrong, I’ve went too far, and I need to shut up now. Or that “hey…” which is usually a prelude to a heartfelt “I’m sorry…”, a firm “That wasn’t cool, but I forgive you”, and my favorite…”I love you so much, don’t forget that.”. And being reminded of these wouldn't hurt one bit.
Maybe instead of our petty fights, my brain-attic would only have space for memories of you kissing my forehead, me kissing your shoulder, and us holding hands like there’s no tomorrow. And being reminded of these would keep me from crying.
Maybe instead of our toxic conversations, my brain-attic would only have our loving banters to look back to. And being reminded of these wouldn't be so painful.
Maybe my brain-attic would only have that look that you had when you said “You. I want you.” high up on a huge frame, when I asked you what you wanted. And being reminded of this isn't something I would lament over.
Maybe we would be celebrating each other’s victories together.
Maybe we would be laughing our guts out together.
Maybe we would be playing the guitar together.
Maybe we would be writing and singing songs together.
Maybe we would be overcoming challenges together.
Maybe we would be pushing through seasons together.
In a parallel universe, maybe we are together. Maybe you could be mine again. Maybe we can both call each other "my love" again.
I don't know how to be alright
As I write this, the latest song that your band has released is on loop.
I swear, I could tell that this song was written for me. But I may be wrong. There might even be a huge chance that I am wrong about this.
But in a parallel universe, maybe I am right. Maybe we would be alright.
Subtitles from Clara Benin's Parallel Universe