Every once in a while, a person catches a fleeting glimmer. Not spirits, but what I call memory ghosts. From there when and where, they pass through into our here and now.
Memory burns into the cosmos. Gazing at the stars is looking at memory. The light traveling across the galaxy spanning years transfers information reaching the observer forming new memories. From a painting of an artist, bits of information travel to the eyes speaking to the viewer. The dead live on, their ghosts caught within the information. Everything passes through the fabric of the cosmos. Fingerprints in the information, memories leave their mark.
I see her still, my little girl. In the passenger seat on the way to school, or sitting at her desk, studying, she fills my life with joy as I view the world through her eyes. Many memories cling like the beaming smile of a child opening her birthday present finding all her wishes, charms in life worth remembering. Even if the world forgets my little pumpkin, I see her memory ghost.
Others say I never had a daughter. The world forgets. Her fingerprint is here, like everything else, caught within the information. Sometimes, memory changes.
From the moment a memory blossoms in the mind, the brain works connecting the patterns. Information not immediately connected to any known pattern dives into the abyss. Other details fade as more information flows linking related patterns together. Connections build a network of memories, blurring some details while reinforcing others. Memories change. Blue becomes gray, tall becomes average. And sometimes something out of the ordinary blazes like the sun floating above the other memories, an interpretation hiding other details, always there.
Does the tapestry of reality mutate altering memory?
Even if the tapestry changes, my girl is here. She is a grown woman now, a stranger, and she doesn’t remember me. The information holds all the ghosts. One only needs to look, and interpret. I’ve found my ghost, my little girl, and I keep her in my heart.
They never leave, these cosmic fingerprints.
Related: see two recent articles about false memories on Ars Technica and “How Many of Your Memories are Fake?” on The Atlantic.
Cosmic Fingerprints is an edited re-post from 2010.