Mémoire Du Jour

Rain Chudori's Mémoire Du Jour, or Memory of the Day, is a monthly column
in The Murmur House that records small, intimate, and eternal memories in the form of philosophy,
film, music, art, literature, and love. It is something new, something old, something you.


welcome home, starling

you are safe now

For You, Max

For You, Max

“He would like to record his love in the mountains, huge and visible from afar to everyone in the valley.”

––Robert Seethaler, A Whole Life

Our whole life consists of waiting. Whether it is for a person, a moment, a sign, or a force within the world to fix yourself upon, it is impossible to avoid the languorous, beautiful act of waiting. I had been standing in the arrival gate for seventy-five minutes when he finally appeared. At that moment, the apprehension I had felt, about him missing his flight, or losing his suitcases, or being held up by immigration, disappeared. At that moment, I realised that my most beautiful memories of him will always be his figure walking over to me.

“Wait,” He said as we walked over to the exit. He let go his suitcases, almost carelessly, and pulled me into his arms. We had spent whole months waiting for each other, and one more second of it seemed meaningless compared to what we had to look forward too. How we kissed.

In Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life, Andreas Egger, a laborman in life and in love, builds his home. It is a small barn in the Almerspitze, by a clear-spring where he fills his time planting his vegetable garden, naming the rocks around his feet, and warming himself up to the rare moments of sunlight on his hill. It is a simple existence for a simple man who, someday, might have the pleasure to open his gate for someone.

“Right at the end he erected a low fence around his new home and put in a little gate, with the express intention of being able to hold it open one day for some potential visitor who might come calling.”

––Robert Seethaler, A Whole Life

We were entering my favourite part of a relationship. We were still exploring and experiencing each other – for such things will never truly end – but we were now blooming. It begins rather simply, not from any form of grand gesture, but from settling into a shared routine. We began identifying similarities, considering differences, and contemplating how to coalesce ourselves with each other.

While I woke up before sunrise to write, he waited until a more reasonable time, at least until there is light across the sky. While I was accustomed to skipping breakfast, he never missed a morning without a plate of croissants and a handful of strawberry jam. While I combed my wild, unruly curls with my fingers and dashed a fresh coat of lipstick, he was next to me, cleaning the blade of his razor with hot water and placing after-shave around his neck. While I preferred to be quiet and observant amongst crowds, he was warm and inviting, as he was the first time we met. While I read my McEwan and Marquez, he read his Knausgaard and Chekov.

There were also moments of conflict, which in retrospect, was always what pushed us further in love. While we both found Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life beautiful, he saw the text as an homage to the small, solitary life that Egger chose to follow, whereas I found it as an inquiry to the depth of human effort, as a final act of stoicism. Of course, our conflicts lay beyond interpretations of literature, but literature, unsurprisingly, was our common language. At the end of every conflict, was always the understanding that we were somehow changed, we were continuously expanding together. We were, as he once put it, “becoming the best parts of each other”.

“Egger shivered at the thought that this hair and this neck were not just an illusion, but that somewhere in this world there might be someone who had touched them with their fingers, perhaps even stroked them with the whole of their hand.”

––Robert Seethaler, A Whole Life

Our whole life consists of blooming. Whether it is for a person, a moment, a sign, or a force within the world to fix yourself upon, it is impossible to avoid the languorous, beautiful act of blooming. We had been standing in the departure gate for fifteen minutes, when we heard the boarding call for his flight. At that moment, the sorrow I had felt, about him catching his flight, and packing his suitcases, and disappearing behind the gates, washed over me. At that moment, I realised that my most heartbreaking memories of him will always be his figure walking away from me.

“Wait,” I said as we walked over to the exit. He let go his suitcases, almost carelessly, and pulled me into his arms. We had spent whole months waiting for each other, and one more second of it seemed meaningless compared to what we had to look forward too. How we kissed.

When Andreas Egger finally has the chance to open his gate, it is for Marie, an inn-maid with dusty hair and the most beautiful name in the world. Their love was muted in the eyes of others, but bloomed nonetheless. When he decided to propose to her, he hired the other labormen from work to carry parafin bags into the hill and arranged them to spell, “FOR YOU, MARIE”, when it was burned. She accepted his proposal, twice, because he was unsure of his luck and has to ask the second time, and when they finished embracing, the fire on the mountain has but fully perished.

“The scars are like years, he said, after one, another comes, and if you put them all together you have a person.” 

––Robert Seethaler, A Whole Life

Photo credit: halfrain via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

In Memory of Myself

In Memory of Myself

How To Belong

How To Belong