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published: 2010-07-28

The law text books. They are in a box beneath the stairs. They have been there for the past 7 years. There were alot more before. I had thrown 4/5th of my Law books away last time I moved, including all my notes. What remains are the books I thought were worth keeping back then. Books like: An Introduction to International Law. Law & Ethics. Labor Law. Contracts Law. And two particularly impressive volumes of Criminal Law. Hard-covered and a deep red.
I decide it’s time to throw them away. And as they pass my hands I wonder: did I really know what legal system the Romans used? And how come I was able to argue why it’s so important a rapist who has pleaded guilty should be set free if the police make an interrogation mistake? Why have I kept those books all these years? Was I really expecting to one day sit down and look up how long one can be held in detention?
I realize have no idea who that person was that scribbled all those notes in the margins and highlighted certain passages. Even my handwriting was different.
I throw the books into a garbage bag. All but the one on Labor Law. I can’t let go of that one. Maybe because I started a PhD in Labor Law. I never finished my dissertation. I had written 2/3rd. It was the first time I allowed myself to fail in something. The book I have decided keep is a basic introduction to Labor Law. Yet now, even that seems as complicated as algebra to me.
I discover two other, smaller, books hidden between the stately Law books. One says: The Reality of Depression. And the other is about grief. I keep those too. As a reminder.

4 Responses to “Reminder”

  1. yo says:

    Partir is indeed to mourir un peu, and there is sadness involved, but sometimes leaving things, places and people behind is for the good as for all the challenges it comes it, it also fosters growth and prosperity/emotional richness. My recent trip to Suriname confirmed that for me. Your story also brought to mind the story of the lady who remembers everything that happened in her life (a famous clinical case). Turns out not exactly photographic memory, but only autobiographical stuff. She is unhappy, as she remembers EVERYTHING, thus not able to let go of painful memories – an ability that other people do have. Apparently, this function, to filter your memories, helps to keep us balanced and sane. The moral of the story, for me, is: hang on the good stuff!

  2. alief says:

    @Yo, yes. Generally speaking, writers often draw on the recent or not so recent past. The (subjective) past is a toolbox. Do you know the name of the lady? It’s interesting. It seems she lacks the other damaging coping-mechanism: to block.

  3. Milan says:

    That sounds like a story written by Oliver Sacks, i believe it is but i forgot the name of the book (lucky me;))

  4. yo says:

    Yes, I think it was an Oliver Sacks case, but I am not sure – I might have read it in a Pscyhology Magazine artikel about a year ago.

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