Our Hidden Memories

“You can’t give them that!” Tracey snapped when she saw the one terabyte hard drive in my hands. We were on our way to drop it off to a friend. The reason Tracey was flipping out? I had an idea but I asked anyway.

“Why not?”

“The birthing photos are on there!”

“No, they’re not.”

“Yes, they are.”

We’ve had a little trouble with this sort of thing before, which has made Tracey a little sensitive. At high school both Master20 and Miss17 took Tracey’s birthing photos to school on a memory stick, which they were using to transport their homework. Fortunately neither they nor their teachers ever opened up the file which held the photos. We know this because, firstly, we were never hauled into the office, secondly, the kids can both still look Tracey in the eye, and thirdly, neither is in therapy.

But as upsetting as the prospect of someone stumbling over your birthing shots, the idea of someone actually possessing them is even worse. And we should know because this sort of horror isn’t new to my family. My brother’s house was burgled a while back and the crooks made off with all his electronics, including their VHS tape collection, which included their birthing video. Even now it’s possible they’re out there, although fortunately finding a working video player is becoming increasingly difficult.

As for our birthing photos…well, I can understand Tracey wanting to be certain they remained private. But I also didn’t want to have to drive all the way back tomorrow if I could avoid it.

“They’re not on here,” I told her.

“Yes, they are.”

“No, they’re not.”

“Yes, they are.”

“No, they’re not.”

“Yes, they are.” Behind us in the car I imagined our kids’ heads pivoting back and forth like the crowds at Wimbledon.

As arguments go, this was going particularly well. I read somewhere it’s important kids hear their parents ‘discussing’ things so they can learn how to deal with disagreements in their own relationships when they’re older. It’s nice to know our mature banter and squabbling will enrich their lives long after we’ve moved on to a higher realm.

“No, they’re not,” I re-re-repeated. “There are no photos on this drive. It’s just my stuff. That’s why I bought the thing, so you wouldn’t freak out about photos and I can do what I want with it.”

“Are you absolutely positive.”

“Of course I am.”

Of course I wasn’t. But I was mostly positive. As things turned out my friends weren’t home so I got the chance to check it again when I got home (and no, they weren’t).

Plus, on the way home we decided that certain photos are better off being deleted than risk them leaking into cyberland. I never need to look at the things anyway – there’s no way I could forget the births of any of my kids.

What do you think?

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