Angelique de Rouen

Monday morning: chemistry lecture, biology quiz, chemistry lab. Monday evening: lab reports, adaptive quizzes, readings for seminar the next day. Next, next, next, tasks checked off the list. What have I done since Saturday night? 

Tomorrow I will go to the Cabaret show. Maybe I’ll read a bit of my book for pleasure before then. “Princeton Anthology of Writing.” Maybe I’ll go for a walk up to the Divinity school, as I’ve been doing late at night recently. I’ll work out, for sure. Ah yes, I need to call my grandmother. She’s two hours behind. No, one hour. Daylight savings? Shoot, I forgot I need to get a COVID test. Schwarzman or York Street? Schwarzman. I can get it on my way up Science Hill. Still need to make up that Chem lab. Interview for study abroad. Sticky note that. Get new Bio textbook. How did I forget about that assignment? Get lunch with suitemate. Suitemates? Reschedule meeting with tissue factor researcher. Is it really going to snow again on Saturday? Coffee. Wait, no coffee. I’ve had too much coffee recently. Sleep? Not enough time. Remember, Anabel, remember. This is on you. I want to go out tonight. Can’t though. 

I package these moments in so many ways: GCal, sticky notes, scrawled to-dos beneath my art history notes — spend time in front of “The Greek Slave” on Saturday. Write introduction to paper. These packages are lame memories that exist in hands holding a void — “Mains Tenant le Vide.” Alberto Giacometti. 1934. Compartmentalized, existing beyond the context of living. I can give you no narrative of the last three weeks. Moments that should make stories don’t. Memories I wish were stories are factoids written on different pages. Moments that occurred next to one another are plucked out of time by my … mind? choices? life. Turn the page, do the next thing, and what happened before is checked off, gone. Not even forgotten. Just gone. 

How can other people remember what they need to do without all the packaging? I wish the sun could wake me up. To hold something other than the plasticky feeling of my phone notched into my fingers, the device that seems to hold all my memories for me. Maybe it’s because  the doctor told me I’m low on iron. Is that why I can’t remember? The big moments? The little ones? 


I remember someone I don’t see in the mirror now. 

Seventy miles off the coast of Eastern Florida, there is a small island of approximately 370 acres. Great Sale Cay, part of the northern chain of islands in the Bahamas known as the Abacos, is still uninhabited and filled with concrete remnants of a Cold-War-era satellite tracking station, hunks of stone inscribed with dates and unknown numbers that jut out into the sea. It is a five-hour journey by boat from Green Turtle Cay to Great Sale, more if the weather is bad, then another eight hours from Great Sale to Florida. I do hope the island is never sold. 

My dad and I spent a week here last summer, anchored in siltier water towards the eastern side of the island. We were alone. I only took a few photos during these days; we had no cell reception, just a GPS signal that allowed us to later navigate across the Gulf Stream back to Florida. Back in the St. Lucie Inlet and murky brown water, pleasure cruisers donning Trump flags and throttle-heavy quad-engine t-tops would whiz through no-wake canals.

I had nothing to do. 

The generator oil had been changed; we were only running it a few hours a day, anyway, just to keep the fridges cold. The hull had been scrubbed of the last month’s growth, a small miracle given my panic attack when a barracuda brushed my foot as I was scrubbing whilst hooked up to an air compressor. We were full of fuel; everything was tied down. The cabins were clean, laundry done. Boxes checked. The only reminder was the alarm set for 4 a.m. Saturday, when we’d pick up the anchor and cross back to the States in clear weather. We were, it was, we would, we had, we spent, I remember

I swam off the back TNT and read Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” played gin rummy with my dad and ate fish and off-brand Otter Pops. I wore a blue bikini top, purple bottoms, my dad in his oil-stained squash t-shirt with more holes than fabric, and lounged on bright white cushions I’d recently scrubbed of pesky mildew. I’d read a few chapters, then fall asleep. Doodle flowers on the yellow legal pad in the galley next to the catch-all bin with the Really Big Scissors that were on the boat when we bought it. They are much more corroded now than they were then. At night, I’d turn the anchor light on, but then that light burnt out, so we left the galley overhead on – the second switch on the circuit board, the one next to the bright red waste tank discharge switch next to the very angry label in my dad’s hand: “ROB ONLY.” The rocky beach on this side of the island, the one with sea grass growing in six inches of water at low tide, required Crocs to reach sand. I laid on this beach on a blue-and-green Costco beach towel, woozier from the seasickness patch I tried for the first time than the seasickness itself. The sun was a bit orange, and a past visitor had dug a branch into the sand, now adorned with braided fishing line and dangling bits of marine plastic. I was angry at first, seeing the plastic, but then it started to be a bit beautiful. 

Perhaps we were there longer than a week. How long we were there is the only thing I don’t remember perfectly. 


I now return to a poem by Billy Collins titled “Osso Buco,” shared by my 12th grade English teacher. “Then we will slip below the surface of the night / into miles of water, drifting down and down to the dark, soundless bottom / until the weight of dreams pulls us lower still, / below the shale and layered rock, / beneath the strata of hunger and pleasure, / into the broken bones of the earth itself, / into the marrow of the only place we know.” 

How long has it been since I visited “the marrow of the only place [I] know,” since I dove so deep into living that I don’t care what comes next, nor care what came before? Why does life feel so blurry, why do I say “like” so much more and read so much less? I don’t know why I walk so fast here. When was the last time I dreamt? Am I impulsive or just busy? Both, I think. I have to stop saying “um.” Maybe I should just talk less. I should certainly speak slower. Will this help me remember more?

It’s funny how I conceive of memory in the same way I think about tasks. It is difficult to think in anything but boxes. 

If I must be pulled out to sea, let it be “beneath the strata of hunger and pleasure.” Let me remember who I was yesterday, last week, month, semester when I look in a mirror adorned with Yale stickers. Let the reminders be life itself. If I can’t remember something, then what is the point of doing it at all? 

There are many things I could be swept away by: youth, the quest for achievement, to be the best I can be, to become all I am capable of being, to be someone. Or perhaps I am simply drowning in reminders of these goals, packaged differently, some hand-delivered, some I wrap up myself. Let me be more than what I do. 

Donna Tartt wrote: “you can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.” 

Is there any in-between? 


Anabel Moore edits for the WKND desk. She previously wrote for the WKND, Magazine and Arts desks as a staff writer. Originally from the greater Seattle, WA area, she is a junior in Branford College double-majoring in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and the History of Art with a certificate in Global Health.