I would like to know what "I had lived them" means in the following sentences:

After this, Karolina came back from the ladies’ and we left. I was determined to take nothing from this place, not one memory, not one conclusion for myself. But like stones thrown into the sky with all one’s might, pieces of that night – the boys and the men who wanted them, the flirtation, the codes of seduction I could only guess at – returned to me with even greater intensity than I had lived them. The law of gravity applies to memories too.

In this novel which is set in the 1980's in Poland under the socialist regime, where homosexuality was socially unacceptable, the protagonist Ludwik (a university graduate) left Poland in 1981 to live in the United States of America. And he remembers what it was like back then in Poland, where he once went to a gay bar with his best friend Karolina when he was a college student. He reluctantly headed towards the bar because Karolina wanted to go there. And he became restless and angry as they sat at the bar sipping the beer, because he did not admit to himself, let alone to his friend Karolina, that he was a homosexual, and he just wanted to leave the place, aghast at flirtations between men. After he had visited the bar, he was determined that he would not bring any memory from the bar.

In this part, I wonder what "live" means in "I have lived them." I guess "them" refers to "pieces of that night," and by "living" them, would that perhaps mean that the memories returned to him with a greater intensity than he had actually experienced them in real life?

I am an English learner from South Korea, so thank you for your patience in advance as I may not know obvious things. I would very much appreciate your help. :)

1 Answer 1


You are absolutely correct.

The memories of the night in question returned to the narrator with an increased intensity than when the night (and all the things that happened at the time) had actually happened.

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