past not immutable
things can change
reason for blackouts
need tangible reminder
He adds another journal to the box every couple of months but never reads over them. It's only after he's moved back home, after his graduation from college and his mother's death, and after he's found the pages with scribbled notes concerning memory and blackouts in what he suspects is his father's handwriting, that he opens the box up.
Age 7. He thinks he knows what happened there, but he can't be sure. He knows the basic theory behind the blackouts, the theory that every single psychiatrist and psychologist has put forward, the same theory he'd probably cite if he had gone into counselling, that the mind blocks out memories that are too traumatic, that are damaging.
He reads the words, feeling slightly foolish, wondering if his father was really just another nutcase or whether there's any truth in his words.
And then everything's spinning, spinning, spinning – and it's a hot summer's day and Kayleigh's dad is suggesting they go down to the basement to make their movie and damn he's forgotten how beautiful Kayleigh was, he really should call or something but what's there to say after fifteen years of silence, and he can feel everything as though it was really happening, but it can't be, it must be a dream, so he goes along and takes off his shirt because hey, it's only a dream and it's not really happening or else he's just remembering what really happened and either way whatever he does isn't going to change anything, so if he reaches out to touch Kayleigh like her dad says then it doesn't really matter, and he really has missed her, and yeah she's a kid but so's he, in this body, and he wants to touch her, oh fuck yeah he wants to touch her lips and her breasts and her stomach and everywhere and her dad's going, yeah, yeah, good boy Evan, good boy, and then he looks at Kayleigh seeing if she wants this as much as he does, and she has that blank mask of acceptance on her face, like she's used to being touched like this but she doesn't like it but she doesn't want to say anything, and he remembers how she always was with her dad and Tommy, a fucking victim, and it hits him that he's a thirty-year-old man getting off on feeling up a fucking seven-year-old kid, and he jumps away from her and they're both just there now, in front of the video camera, staring at her dad and –
And then he's back. Right. Of course. Then he's back, because that's when the blackout ended, and that really happened, that's what really happened, that's what really happened –
He tears up the page and throws up, and his head doesn't stop spinning until the following day.
He puts the journals away and the box isn't opened again for another twenty years.
A journal from when he was twenty falls open when the box is being moved to the attic. He stares at the words. The date is familiar; it's the night he had his first blackout in seven years. It encouraged him to delve even further into his study of memory loss, but all the research in the world hasn't been able to retrieve the missing segments from his childhood.
The words are shifting and merging on the page, and then he's back, at the door of his dorm room with that girl, he hasn't thought about her in years, and they're sitting down on the bed and she finds the box of journals and she asks him to read something.
The journals are not meant to be shared; the thought of sharing them with someone he hasn't even spoken to since he graduated is unpleasant.
She's beautiful and he hasn't been to bed with a beautiful twenty-year-old in far too long, though. That's sick, he tells himself, but he's in the body of a twenty-year-old boy now, so it's not really sick, is it, and if he reads just a bit to her then he might get some action, and it'll be worth it.
He opens the journal, and begins to read.