When love was new

Circa 1990

You’ll have noticed there are more anniversaries around these days than ever before. Which is not surprising when you consider that anniversaries are one of the assured areas of human growth. If you live, you will have more anniversaries tomorrow than you have today. That’s the law.
Heck, tomorrow is an anniversary of today.

Some people like anniversaries. Wives for instance, lovers too. They keep note of when you first met, when you first went on a date, the first kiss, the first time you forgot an anniversary! And once you do forget you’re forever pigeonholed as someone who forgets anniversaries. This gives your significant other the freedom to remind you of the approach of anniversaries, birthdays and other occasions when a truly sensitive soul will remember to buy a gift.

I don’t like to overstate the differences between us (men) and them (women). I mean, yes, there are some really radical differences, and I cannot profess to totally understand anyone who willingly paints their face every day. And while I don’t necessarily believe we are two different species instead of two halves of the same, sometimes I wonder.
What is it about normally well-adjusted (sic) women that makes them remember, with a tenacity that would do credit to an elephant, the date when you first rolled into sight? How could they know that it was going to make all that much difference whether they turned down your offer of a drink or took pity on you and brought you home to meet Mother?
Yet that day becomes red-lined as one of a list of significant days which will eventually clog your year like overgrown jungle.

It’s been reckoned that those people with least history are the happiest and I can understand that. The older you grow, the more history accumulates on the soles of your boots until it’s practically impossible to move a step without tripping over some memory. Every day has some memory attached to it, hidden in the mists of forgetfulness, and that’s the way it ought to be. Even if it’s a happy memory, it’ll still cause sadness because the time has gone, your youth has gone and some of the people who were around then are gone too.

It’s not only women who have a fondness for anniversaries. Old soldiers are inveterate rememberers too. There’s scarcely a brawl on land, sea, or air that doesn’t have its anniversary. Anzac Day is the biggest, when every old soldier wraps up his or her memories in their old kitbag and parades them for us to share. We try to understand, of course, but it’s impossible. Who can really know what it was like in the trenches or to be bombed at sea unless they were actually there? The diggers come together because they have shared each other’s experience and become the only people who know what it means.

Memories are essentially private property, which is why anniversaries are so important. They allow us to share our memories with others, to reminisce, to feel that we’re not here on our own, that we haven’t fallen out of the sky yesterday and that, yes, there was a day when we were young and love was new.

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