Memory and the Health Benefits of Blueberries
Art by Paul Rios
I drove past a sign on the freeway that said “blueberries are good for memory.” I don’t know if I believe that. I mean I know that blueberries are supposed to be great for you, but I’m not sure I believe they specifically help you remember where you put your keys, the last time you shaved your armpits, or the color of the grass you were staring at when you were dumped 8 months ago.
I think about this billboard as I am eating blueberries by the handful. Shoveling them in, wishing they were chocolate chips, but glad they are blueberries because maybe they will help me remember why I shouldn’t call him. Why I shouldn’t respond. Why he doesn’t deserve me.
But for now, I am just sad and confused. And eating an absurd amount of blueberries.
I remember the first date, when I thought he just wanted to be friends but he kissed me instead and I smiled the whole way home.
I remember telling my best friend that he was the kind of guy who could break my heart, and I would let him. Those words echo in my mind as I eat more and more tiny blue spheres. They begin to color my fingers, my teeth, my lips.
I remember feeling for the first time that this was it, the waiting was over.
But instead, we were over. And the waiting had only just begun.
As I look down at the blueberries, I see that they are squished at the bottom. What started out as sweet and perfect had become soft and sad. And I remember.
The fear creeping into my chest.
The growing dread I couldn’t shake.
The knowing it was over, but hoping things would change.
But they never did.
I stop eating the mushy blueberries, but I don’t stop remembering.
The phone call in the desert when he spoke in clichés. How he couldn’t say it to my face.
How my heart was heavy every morning for weeks and how he has haunted my thoughts every day since.
How he never tried to know me, settling for who he imagined I was. And how I let him.
Now I eat the blueberries to remember why we weren’t meant for each other. How it was all just a figment of our imaginations. What was perfect in theory ended up being a disappointment in real life.
And I remember the truth: I didn’t love him either.
As I throw the last of the mushy blueberries away, I’m sad but not sorry. Because one day, someday, I will forget.