Yesterday I decided to retrieve a small piece of furniture from the big shed with the leaky roof. I spotted it buried under several decomposing cardboard boxes that seemed to be supporting whole ecosystems of diverse fungal species.
I dragged the boxes out of the shed and onto the grass, and each one gave up its contents in the process. Scattered across the lawn was a collection of objects considered unworthy of being unpacked when we moved into the house seven years ago.
One of these domestic rejects was a book that I picked up and started flicking through. I discovered on each page fragments of vaguely familiar dreamscapes and nearly forgotten faces. It took me a while to realise that I was looking at a photograph album containing the only known images of my life between the ages of 16 and 18 years. But it’s been raining for so long, over so many years, that the water has seeped into the pages of my past and now I barely recognise it.
For several minutes I was deeply upset. There’s no digital back up for these erased files and I didn’t have enough memory to store them at the time.
The laws of metaphysics suggest that our lives are shaped not by the events that happen, but by our responses to them, and my sadness was gradually overridden by a fascination with these uncanny images as they slowly transformed into beautiful and extraordinary works of art.
My history has been repainted as a delirious abstract rendition in psychedelic technicolour. It is beautiful and I’ve only just noticed. This rain damaged book is my present; a gift to myself from the past.