I don’t think in images. When I close my eyes, I see faceless people composed entirely of words and emotion dressed in sentences and punctuation. Story-less phrases flit across my eyelids, there one moment and forgotten the next. Feelings sit in boxes in the corner of my mind, fermenting, until they are more concentrated than they were when they were originally created – I remember being exceedingly upset at camp when I was picked on when in reality, I barely shed a tear. When someone tells me a story, I remember the story, not the people involved (Hey, remember when you told me about that time you snuck out of your house? Oh, that wasn’t you?).
Despite spending my entire life looking up to them, I am incapable of drawing up my parents’ faces in my head. I remember words, instead. Warmth, smooth, stubble, laughter, love, apple cider and passion- fruit lemonade, berries on random trees and Friday night television. I remember music. My fondest memories of my brother have an incessant soundtrack of our tone-deaf voices belting out masterpieces. I will always associate certain songs with stress as they were played during exam time.
I sometimes forge my memories, drawing from stories I thought I had forgotten and emotions with no justification to form a new childhood experience to define my life. I reserve images for dreams. For the present and future and all that the two promise and hold. I keep them safe for the middle of the night when my mind weaves up fantastical sights and worlds to escape into. To create lands where I am me but not me and the world is there, but not there, existing only in relation to what I have seen before and what I am yet to see.
Anjali Agarwalla is a student in New York. Growing up in one of the cultural hubs of America has made her enjoy not only writing and reading, but also art, dancing and music. She is a trained Kathak dancer.