“I am thinking about a friend of mine, how she is not only what she believes she is, she is also what friends believe her to be, and what her family believes her to be, and even what she is in the eyes of chance acquaintances and total strangers.
All of this being true of my friend, it occurs to me that I must not know altogether what I am, either, and that others know certain things about me better than I do, though I think I ought to know all there is to know and I proceed as if I do. Even once I see this, however, I have no choice but to continue to proceed as if I know altogether what I am, though I may also try to guess, from time to time, just what it is that others know that I do not know.” -Lydia Davis
Our understanding, or lack of understanding, is contagious, don’t you think? Is dangerous in that way, that we can get caught up in someone’s knowledge or perceived knowledge. That we can store little nuggets of empathy for them in our chests. In great stores below the surface. That we can become so lost in another’s we forget it wasn’t ours to begin with. We lose track, we lose sight of maybe the original understanding we had before. Whenever that was. Who do we become then? What do we seek then? Where do we end up then? If you’re worried about it, is it only then that you go looking for it? That you take your flashlight and crawl into the storage space and dust off the labels and realize what you were saving for the long winters ahead. . . I didn’t need to keep this after all.