By Maggie Brown
The ultimate fault in memory lies within the reality of its inevitable decline. As time flies by with the velocity of a traveling train, the mind contorts what could once be recalled as indisputable fact into a bewildering disarray of the moment that we will never again breathe, the sights that we will never again see, and the instant that we will never again call present. As human beings, photographic recollections of the path that our feet have traveled shine brightly for a defined period of time, before inescapably fading into a monstrous sea of darkness, leaving gaping holes in our memories, and erasing a part of our life that can never again be precisely recalled.
As I boarded a plane at the Chennai airport at the end of last July, no fear loomed greater in the immediate realm of my conscience as this – that my journey as a member of the Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy would become a hole of scattered recallable darkness. Returning to the United States, I could recite with exquisite precision every minute detail of our trip, from the sound of the withered dirt crunching under our feet, to the feeling of the midnight haze suffocating my unsuspecting flesh. But, memory is not forever. With time, what would I remember of my initial journey into the bustling streets of an Indian city? Would I recall the faces of a nation’s future, the inexplicable sounds of children laughing as they ran around fostering a love for a game they had only known for a matter of minutes? Or would my memory fade into a blurry cloud of mystery, into an entity that I myself cannot merely explain, providing life to the fears that surfaced as our time in India became a thing of the past?
And yet, the beauty in fear is that it must be fed. Fear cannot swelter alone, and it cannot flourish without nourishment – for a fear to survive, we must provide it with the apprehension that it needs to grow. So, when my first trip to Chennai came to a close, and the months began to pass, I realized that my memory would inevitably fail, but that my fear would not cultivate in accordance with it. I had nothing to fear, because while memory could not last forever, something else could. I could no longer smell the strength of Indian spice as the wind grazed by, and I could no longer feel the touch of hundreds of children anxious to reach for a high-five, but I had something else to reinvigorate the memory that would eventually blur, and it came at the hands of just one of the many people that changed my life forever.
When I begin to question the journey that occurred nearly a year ago, I reach for the letter that was given to me on the last day of camp that jogs my memory back to life.The letter that reads,
Tank you for teaching basketball. I love to playing basketball. I will practice each
day until you come back. Next year I want hit rim. You will teach how to make it.
Come back plese.
Because of this letter, I have not feared the fault of memory. Instead, I have embraced it, learned to fill in the dark holes with the concrete writing of a young child from an Indian slum thousands of miles away, reminding myself of the journey that will never fade – a journey that will reignite once again in just twenty-two short days. As a member of the Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy, there is nothing to fear, for together we constitute a familiar bond that cannot be broken, joined together in our hope to change the world.
What we cannot remember, someone else will remember for us, for together we are off to change the world, again and again, until there is nothing left to change.