In my memory, we open the bag of ashes and take turns flinging them over the ridge, but the breeze blows some back to us, where they settle on our faces and clothing. I can hear my sister Linda saying something kind of mystical about this being a signal from our mother, and that’s what I related in the story I wrote in our book.
But after Abby read the story, she told me Linda hadn’t said that at all, that what she did say was a piece of ash had gotten under her contact lens. I like that remark. It’s more specific than my vague spiritual recollection, and it reflects Linda’s self-absorption. If I’d remembered the line—and if Linda actually said it—I’d have used it in my story.
My sister Abby has a different memory of the same event. She believes what I remember didn’t happen. I can’t change what seems true to me; I can’t adopt someone else’s memory because it would make a better story. So the contact lens line will be lost to history, only to appear in the deleted e-mail I got from Abby when she questioned my version of the incident.