What Pegman Saw: A lesson in forgetting

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Image: Google Street View

‘Forgetting’s easier.’ Hobb used to say.

That’s when he’d say anything about those days at all.

Of course, he was wrong. Because you can’t unsee what’s been seen, can’t unremember a thing that’s happened in your own street, at your own door.

Between one neighbour and the next.

You just push it down, away, paste a smile over the grieving as you paint new walls where the old ones stood, plant geraniums in the ashes and hope they’ll grow.

Forgetting’s not forgetting, it’s denial. And denial’s a cancer burrowing at your heart, forming wormy pits in your soul until one day you’re nothing but hollows.

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Written for What Pegman Saw. This week we are in Tulsa. See here to join in.

This week’s an unusual one as Josh and Karen, Pegman’s founders, have asked us to write a story on a specific time and place, namely the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921.

Others – Iain, Penny, Rochelle and Josh himself – have made such a good fist of relating elements of the events, I felt anything I added would ring hollow. Instead, I chose to focus on the fact that this event seems to have been largely ‘forgotten’. Not taught in schools, not widely discussed. I considered what this ‘forgetting’ might do to some.