The First Consciousness

“I know you don’t love me anymore!” I said, teary-eyed. “You didn’t care when I fell!”

I was, I believe, four or five when I said that to my mom. And though I cannot remember the exact circumstance in which it was said, I remember clearly it was to solicit my mom’s love and attention. For what ends, though, I cannot remember.

This scene takes place in a car, outside my house. I vaguely recall my dad sitting on my right, and my mom to my left. And oddly enough, I remember what was going through my head at that time.

The memory that was playing in my head at that exact moment was that of my falling off my bicycle. I was cycling on a raised platform, a sort of road or lane divider. This divider was made up of cement slabs or bricks, with each brick painted black or white, lined up such that no two bricks of similar colour followed each other.

In the reverie I was having in the car, I believe recalling that the bicycle hit a gap in the divider and I was thrown off. On hindsight, it might have been a reconstruction of my brain — my incompetent riding might have been more to blame — but nevertheless, whatever the cause, the important thing was that I fell.

My mom does not appear in that memory of my falling off the bicycle. She might have been there, but in my memory of that memory she is not.

This reverie in the car happens in a split second. Though the events are long and detailed, the mind has a way of processing everything it needs in as efficient a time as possible. The details of the event are not important; the meanings of the event are.

Right after that memory played out in my mind, I remember something that, though familiar to me now, was a novel thing at that time. I remember thinking about my thinking, about the consequences of my actions (“I can only use this for a few more times before it gets old”).

It was the first time I gained a sense of self-awareness.

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