Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Memory Box

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Outside, it is raining. The dense fog mists the locked windows. Like from a faraway world, the rumble of a thunder is heard. The house is covered in pitch black darkness as the electricity goes off. She makes her way to the kitchen and finds a candle by the window sill. Power cuts during the monsoon was common, yet she hovers around the kitchen shelves uncertainly searching for a box of matches. Finding it finally, she lights the candle. In the lick of the golden flame, an unknown feeling grips her heart. A feeling that's as new as the flame she lit and that's as old as the rain pouring outside. She wishes to turn back time and go back to where things were not so complicated; days that would merge into beautiful nights with ease. Nights that were free of guilt and filled with longing. 

With the candle in hand, she makes her way to the attic, climbing the stairs carefully, not losing her grip. The attic lies bathed in a thin film of dust, years of disuse lying around unmasked. There are a child's toys, once loved and now discarded like many other things here. The rocking horse grins maniacally in a corner, the wooden cradle next to it. But her eyes goes to the small cardboard carton that has been sealed and left there for some years now. She had made up her mind long back not to open it, but neither did she have the heart to throw it away. 

Placing the candle on the dusty floor, she sits down next to the box, the memory box, as she likes to call it and unseals the tape after a moment's hesitation. She takes a deep breath as the memories tumble out, one by one, and then flooding her all at once. Smothering, threatening to drown her in its depths. It rises, holding her in its clutches. 

The letters, tied together with a piece of string, the few books that had grown yellow with age. She picks one up. The Mill on the Floss. A book that was a part of her syllabus then. All these years and one would have thought that the memories would have faded with age. Certain memories have a strange quality to them, the harder you try to forget, the sharper it gets, like the pixels of a picture coming together to form a clear focus.

The details of the day comes rushing back to her, pricking her like icy needles. The bright red rose that she had laid down to press in between the pages. 

Would it still be there? Or would it have crumpled to dust like many feelings? The incessant thoughts continue to linger. Well, only one way to find out. 

She opens the book, holding it tenderly, like a new born child. And there it is, the red rose, but no longer red. In muted shades of yellow and a color that was almost black. The petals delicate like a fluttering moth's wings. A smile tugs at the corner of her mouth seeing the rose still there. How often we wish to hold on to those things that we know we should let go. Yet, like a stubborn stain that refuses to leave, it stays, lingering in the deep most caverns of your memory. Guarded like a fierce secret. 

Bottles of dried up ink, old notebooks covered in her handwriting, secret messages scribbled hastily on the back, random notes that she had penned whenever something got her fancy, greeting cards... 

Her hand trembles before picking up the tied bunch of letters. Somethings are better left where it is, in the past. No harm in looking, a stubborn voice inside her head nudges her. She unties the string before having second thoughts. Her eyes blur as it roams hungrily on the pages, taking in the beautiful curved writing in ink that has filled it. She takes it along with the candle and sits near the window, holding it close to her so that the occasional raindrops that breezed in through the open window would not smudge those precious words of long ago and begins to read...

... To be continued.   



10 comments:

  1. wowwww....i was so lost reading this

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  2. A very soul touching narration of how memories play with us. It touches the deepest chords of one's heart and takes you down your own memory lane. Beautifully written in Aathira's inimitable style. Good job, Aathira. God bless you.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Mr. Parsa :) It keeps pushing me to write better each day :)

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  3. Aathira, this is so profound and touching! Loved reading it!

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  4. Those moments are the ones that have the power to deliciously destroy the heart over and over again.

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    1. Indeed. But that makes them all the more precious, right?

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  5. Oh my God..!! That was such an enchanting piece I've read in a long time.. You really know how to play with words...!!!
    Loved this one..

    Cheers

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    1. Thank you thank you, Geets! Means a lot :)

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