Memories

This is the piece of writing I entered into the aforementioned competition. I shall call it… memories. Any comments on it are appreciated ^^

~*~

Memories.

Memories are powerful. They shape you. They can haunt you. They are you.  Memories can destroy lives and save them. Even though they are nothing more solid or real than a lazy daydream or a passing thought, they often carry more power than things which exist in the present.

I sit on the grass beneath a great, old oak tree. Sunshine dances through the branches and plays on my lap and over my face. This tree itself has seen lifetimes of memories, but it still stands, strong and wise and tall.

There is a small hole in the ground, soil decorating the sides like a barricade. My earthy hands clutch a small, insignificant wooden box. It could be any box, but it’s mine. I still remember when I buried it. It was autumn, and the ground was a red, orange and brown mosaic of leaves which crunched pleasingly underfoot. I am twelve again as I turn the petite bronze key and watch the lid click open, the contents as alive and bright as I once was.

I am twelve, and I lay a pair of pastel pink ballet pumps into my box. I remember when my mum bought them for me, when I chose them; my eyes skimmed past the sparkly blues and glittery purples and I saw that pair. I knew they were mine, instantly; soft satin pink with the most amazing floppy bows. I kept them still in the shoebox, in the shelf under my cupboard. They were too nice to wear, terrified I would spoil them. I’ll never forget the day, the one and only day, I wore those ballet shoes. I was a swan in Swan Lake, all powdery white with pink shoes. It was my first ever performance, and I was immensely proud. How I twirled and pirouetted that night! How I danced, how I lived. After that, I could never wear the shoes again; after all they had been through. I even kept a bunch of roses a member of the audience threw for me, dried them and kept them in the box too.

I am twelve, and I lay a parcel, string and brown paper, into my box. As a young child, I had a penpal. Her name was Aahna and she lived in India. Aahna, like me, loved to dance. It was this shared love that brought us together even though we lived in completely different worlds. My world was school and friends and ballet classes; pretty dresses and annoying little sisters and bed time stories. Her world was fetching water from the pump in the morning, feeding the chickens grain and cutting up vegetables; she danced in the dust of her back garden when she had the time, and dreamed. I lived her dream, and I wished she could live it with me. She always used to send the most wonderful gifts; colourful silky fabrics studded with gems, a soapstone elephant figure, a page of flowing Hindi writing in black ink. The gifts I sent back to her never seemed so enchanting in comparison. This parcel was a polka dotted notepad which I meant to send to her. I never did. They phoned me, three days later; she died of cholera in the night. I cried, because I really loved her, the friend I never met. Aahna.

I finger other items in the box. I am twelve again. These are my favourite novels, pages worn and stained and faded with love. A dried daisy chain I made with my best friends. Smooth white stones hand-picked from the salty shores at the beach. A whistle carved from wood which my dad taught me how to make. Photos. Fragments. Memories.

I am thirty again, and I smile softly as I place my box back into the ground, waiting timelessly for my next visit.

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