Keeping a Journal of Memories

On my drive into the office this morning I crooned along with Adele singing Bonnie Raitt’s, I Can’t Make You Love Me. My eyes filled faster than my lungs emptied.

‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t
You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t
Here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power
But you won’t, no you won’t
‘Cause I can’t make you love me, if you don’t

I’ll close my eyes, then I won’t see
The love you don’t feel when you’re holding me
Morning will come and I’ll do what’s right
Just give me till then to give up this fight
And I will give up this fight


The song wasn’t ours. We met long after Raitt’s song climbed the charts but before Adele made it hers. My cheeks were damp when I reached the parking lot. I swallowed the last of the lukewarm coffee in the paper cup and sank into the bucket seat.

In the rearview mirror, I watched the reel of shared memories roll. The muscle under my breastbone pushed and pulled until my breath struggled. Enough, I whispered loud enough for my heart to hear. My eyelashes settled on the tops of my cheeks waiting for the past to retreat. Time’s a bitch regardless if it’s flying, crawling, frozen, or turning back. If Time were tried for corruption and cruelty, the defense attorney wouldn’t find a single witness with a good word.

You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t

My heart didn’t follow Raitt’s advice. She raged a bitter battle, swearing through convulsions of pain he loved us. He didn’t. In his defense, he never promised me would, or even could, but he cared. Not that the delineation made a hell of a difference to my wobbly heart, she wove the story she needed to believe.

If not for the unexpected triggers—today, it was that damn song—neither my heart nor I tread over the hallowed ground of his memory. We have different perspectives on the encounter. My heart clings with dogged determination to the notion that he more than cared. I refuse to entertain the possibility anymore. It’s my job to keep one foot rooted in sanity. One of us must hold the line, keep us from plunging into the ring of fire where the blaze of the flames burns their blinding, all-consuming passion.

I make a note of my moments—those from the past as well as the ones experienced in real-time—for the sake of my writing. The memories can open old wounds, hurt a little, ruin my make-up, even piss me off for the stupidity or lack of judgment I might have had. But the reality is each of my moments leads up to this one, and it’s not so bad where I am now.

Moments in a lifetime run the gambit, some more precious, others more precarious, but none are off-limits to a writer. The emotions felt and experienced when tapped and used in a story explode on the page. The reader connects on contact. Don’t be afraid to harvest your memories.

Do you keep a journal of life’s moments?