Twenty Dollars and A Dream

In 2004, I lost twenty dollars. I don’t know how and I don’t know where. If I did, I’d probably have set up camp there and would still be on my hands and knees looking for it. In the twelve years or so since then, I’ve spent way more twenty dollar bills than I could track. Some I spent wisely, many I squandered. On candy. On food I shouldn’t have eaten. On drinks I didn’t need. On clothes I wore once and hated. On experiences I’ve long since forgotten. But I never forgot that I lost some money somewhere between my apartment and school back in 2004.Twenty Dollars and a Dream

I remember looking for the missing Andrew Jackson note when I got to the cafeteria, searching my pockets, turning my purse inside out, then my pockets a second time. I remember the feeling of despair, of sadness, of loss of control. Already, I am at that place where one forgets, I panicked. It couldn’t be. I retraced my steps, searched under every desk in my classroom, opened every page of every book in my bag. At home, I cleaned every corner of my apartment, looking for something I had lost. Twelve years have passed. The same length of time Solomon Northup lost and regained his freedom. Enough time to turn a Jewish baby boy into a man. Yet I hold on to the memory of something I lost and can never get back.

What makes us remember bad things and forget the good? Why do I remember the sacrifices I had to make to bridge my unforgiving student budget in 2004 yet have long since forgotten the meal they served on my first-class flight to Jamaica the year after that? Why do I hold on to the curtness of his tone when he was emotional and forget all the times he stroked my hair and called me beautiful? Why memorialize his failings, my resultant disappointment, and let the good times sink into the oblivion of forgetfulness? Why, every time I think of him, I remember the tears when he walked out, not the way my heart lifted when he walked in?

After a good thing ends, why do we remember the bad and forget the good? And shouldn’t we do everything we can to change that?


Read more of my short stories and essays in my book, It’s Complicated: Short Stories About Long Relationships, available in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I think sometimes forgetting certain negative details is a good thing. Especially when someone does something to you. If it happens to be a family member I don’t think I want to remember everything. But it’s definitely something I’ve always thought about, why we forget certain things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is interesting how our brains fixate on details even when they are things we would rather let go of and forget sometimes. Thanks for sharing!
    Simple | Pure | Whole Wellness

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      I heard a motivational speaker say our thoughts are like a vacuum and unless we fill our mind with positive thoughts, the negative will do that on their own.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.


  3. That is right, what a pondering question: Why do we remember the bad things and not the good. I remember the girl who threw a rock at my best friend in 1st grade but I can’t for the life of me remember some milestones in my life!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Canuck Carl says:

    This is so profound and well written. Got me thinking of the times I have dwelled on negative events from decades ago that should be long forgotten.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      And thanks for reading and commenting, Carl. I have so many bad memories hanging around in my brain. It wouldn’t be so bad if I used them for lessons but I often use them to chastise myself. I am trying to be intentional about focusing my energy elsewhere though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Canuck Carl says:

        You are most welcome. I know exactly what you mean. My running in particularly has helped me considerably in “clearing the head”.

        Hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I must say that I make a point of and really try hard to remember the good things. Even the beautiful, small everyday things. This is a great reminder to keep doing so.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I must say that I usually make an effort to remember the good things – even the small, beautiful, everyday things in life. Great reminder to keep doing so – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      It’s so important to remember the good things, Karien. I love your name by the way. I’m Karen but I’m wondering if you ever get your name pronounced like mine 🙂


  7. Montana Ross says:

    Our brains are more hardwired to remember negative experiences rather than positive ones. I remember reading somewhere that it takes 5 positive experiences to outweigh a negative one. And sometimes things that happened in our past can stay with us forever!

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s