A Memory or... ?



There is one thing that has troubled me for some years now. A feeling that keeps me awake, let's me doubt myself.
I cannot be sure, is it real or not?
It feels real.
It must be real. The proof is right there, but the memory... is that real?

Let me elaborate my thoughts:
For years when someone asked me about my earliest memory I tell them of my parent's backyard. I think it is a sunny afternoon on my birthday, or another day for celebrations, since my family is sitting outside. Something we normally do with a party. My father is standing to the left, watching me as I am playing with what I think is a wooden train. I feel the joy and happiness, and I can clearly picture myself in that memory.

Always a nice story of my first memory, until one day when I was looking at some old pictures from my childhood. I found my memory written in a Polaroid.
The day,
my father,
the train,
all of these elements from my memory are there in that picture. When I first saw that picture a feeling of doubt succumbed me. What do I remember? Is it the day itself? Or is it the picture I remember? I wanted to believe that the picture was only the proof that my memory was correct. But the more I told myself that, the more I noticed that my memory was trapped within the boundaries of this picture. I cannot remember what happened before or after. I even noticed that I see myself in my memory.

I remember my father at my left, while he stands at my right side.

The picture is taking over. I do not know what I remember. Maybe the picture suppressed the memory? I still have a feeling of joy when I think of it.
Maybe I never remembered it, I simply saw the picture and created a memory out of it.
Now, if someone asks me about my earliest memory, I have to tell an other story. A memory that has no picture of it, yet...

As a young boy, probably a year of five, I am playing at the side of a pond. From a long piece of reed I try to create a fishing rod. Someone approaches me and ask me what I am doing? Fishing! I respond while skillfully attaching a shoe lace to the rod.

I am fishing, while saying goodbye to someone dear.