Big, sudden events edge themselves visually and geographically into your memory, especially if they involve terrible emotions. You always remember where you were and what you did when you first learned about them.

I was in the entrance area of our family home when one evening a phone call informed me that my mom had had a car accident and was in the ICU.

Years later as a student, I was in my dormitory in the kitchen when she called me to tell me that her husband had suddenly left her.

I was in Japan with my boyfriend, watching TV, when the twin towers fell.

I was in a train from Paris to Germany with my small son when the BBC sent an alert to my phone: “Shooting in central Paris”, followed by a night of horrendous news, unfolding the terrorist attack of November 2015.

Why do we always remember the exact location where we had been? Like being frozen in time. A snapshot. *This* is where I was at that exact moment.

Even as it happens, we immediately recognise the magnitude and it’s as if we take a picture of ourselves in a moment of history.

Copyright 2019 Andrea Bernard


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