The Taste of Memory

March 1st, 2013

I don’t claim to be one of those people with synesthesia abilities (tasting numbers, smelling colors, etc), but I do experience it in one realm. There are certain memories that I can actually taste for fleeting moments. Like a flashback to when I lived in San Diego at 18, away from Kentucky and my mother’s house for the first time, already unhappily married, homesick for something that didn’t yet exist. The memory that sums up that time is of a green plaid taffeta dress I’d bought to go to a Navy party with my husband. The texture of the dress combines with the Edward Hopper-like lonely, empty quality of California light to create a taste on my tongue that I can’t describe. It doesn’t resemble any food I’ve ever eaten — it’s the taste of a memory, intense, brief, green and sad. I can’t explain how some of my memories carry a taste and others don’t. It only happens when I’m not expecting it or trying to force it…a complete, sweet mystery that I don’t even want to have explained away as some sort of freaky neuro synapse collision. It’s a sensory window on time, taking me back without pain or regrets — only wonder.

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