Lost in Memories

by Ammar K. Alqamash

This work appears in Khabar Keslan Issue 2. PASSAGE


Space, time, age, and the numbers are indefinable terms for me. My life is an endless journey of finding meaning. I wonder, what does it feel like to find yourself?

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The more I try to find myself, the more I get lost in my memories.

Memory #1

It has been 23 years since I lost my mother, I remember that day well, I was there, I saw her, she was beautiful, and it was peaceful. I was a five-year-old kid back then. I remember the chaos her death created. Everyone around me was whining and crying except the younger me. I still don’t know why I did not cry that day, or the next day, or the day after. 10 years later, I absorbed the fact that she’s gone, and only then I started crying.

 I looked for my tears, and I didn’t find any... .And here I’m, old, weak and lost in memories.

I looked for my tears, and I didn’t find any...
.And here I’m, old, weak and lost in memories.

As I grew older, I realized how her death made a dent in my life and affected me in so many ways. Have you ever woken up and realized that you’re weaker than a flower in a cold winter?

NOTE TO MY KIDS

Pain is a bitch, it always gets you at the worst time. Growing up alone, with an always busy father, and a cold stepmother made my childhood memories revolve around me, and only me. I spent most of my time reading books. I had a wild imagination, so I ended up with 3 best friends; imaginary ones. When I remember them, I remember the good times we had together. I recall our time in the backseat of my dad’s car, and in my almost-a-library bedroom.

I don’t know what I’ll do without my memories, I have no one to talk to. I keep retrieving them to feel alive. To me, my memories are my legacy, it’s the only thing I want to leave behind.

How do you retrieve a memory?

Being part of a small family gives you no choice but to go wherever they’re going. Family visits, for example; parties you are not interested in, shopping for clothes to hide their bodies/sins, and many more. Shopping for me was the worst among them all, I remember how I hated to stay in one spot for more than 10 seconds, always hyper, always wanting to explore and observe the big universe. I had 3 friends I wanted to enjoy my time with... My 3 best imaginary friends.

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NOTE TO MY KIDS

Pain is a bitch, it always gets you at the worst times.

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Memory #2

Doha has changed, so did I. Unfortunately, I lost my imaginary friends and fortunately, I replaced them with real ones; precisely the way Doha is replacing the old Souq with skyscrapers and fancy malls. It’s a matter of time before we lose everything beautiful we had, and this project is about retrieving and preserving memories.

Last week I visited the old Souq with 3 of my friends, real ones this time, and it felt like traveling back in time. Walking around the Souq brought all my childhood memories back to life, the smell of this place is a scent that lingers in my lungs every time I visit, my eyes sparkled while gazing at the old neon signs and the silent mannequins. It wasn’t only a walk, it felt like opening the book of life, a book of MY life.

One day, in Istanbul, I met an old man, and he invited me for a cup of coffee, we talked for some time, and I asked him to share some of his good memories. “There is no such thing as a good or bad memory, memories are memories, and that’s how they should always be,” He said.

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How do you retrieve a memory?

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... And here I’m, old, weak and with no family. And here I’m, old, weak and with 3 real friends, 2 amazing kids and a lot of memories.


Ammar Alqamash is a Yemeni interdisciplinary artist based in Doha. An investigational attitude and resilience among mediums comprise the bedrock of Alqamash’s practice. His work is based on expressive graphics art, time-based media, and photography. Alqamash examines connotation of time, space, and belonging. How does one preserve romance that is on the verge of disintegration? Alqamash aims to capture these hopeful circumstances, both within the architectural realm and the human body.