The memory box

Folding the letter she gently smoothed the sheet of paper under her fingers feeling beneath them dryness of age that had affected it. Eyes too poor to read it now, nevertheless she knew every word by heart having devoured it so often over the years, now carefully stored with so many others and only now seeing light of day.

HARRY!

Closing her eyes his face flashed into her mind, hazy now as she struggled after so long to keep his features sharp and clear, she was losing him to time she knew that and the thought made her smile sadly. So long ago yet brief moments of clarity would invade her thoughts, his smile cutting through the fog and making it seem like only yesterday and then he was gone again leaving her with only these tangible memories. 

Sighing softly she replaced the pages into the large carved wooden box, fingers brushing a small packet as she did so drawing it slowly towards her before cupping it gently in her wrinkled palms and clasping it to her chest.  ‘Not long my love’ she thought to herself ‘Soon, it shall be soon’

Leaving the packet unopened she returned it quickly to the box, thrusting it inside as guilt burned and she slightly afraid of being discovered although she knew she would not be, nobody came any more. A splash of bright colour caught her eye and she reached towards a garish painted picture of a child’s hand with crude scrawl underneath depicting the artist’s name.

Ella.

Another smile, eyes warming briefly before the light quickly faded, no Ella was long gone and this just yet another memory of things come and gone in her many years of being. Sadness less sharp as each year went by panged momentarily before she dismissed it and returned the picture to lie back along its fellow inhabitants of the cluttered old box. 

Her worn gaze swept over the small grizzled teddy bear and the beribboned letters, oh she had been so popular in her day with her many suitors all begging for a smile, a glance, some sign of recognition from her but almost from the first she had only had eyes for him. Sweeping an errant lock of hair from her forehead she leaned further over the box disturbing the contents in her hunt for the one thing she sought. She needed to find it, to bring him close again before her failing mind refused to remember what she was looking for and left her in that absent place where nothing mattered any more. 

There! There it was.  Her heart leapt as she found the one thing she wanted and fingers rapidly cleared the dust from the front of the small framed picture. Lovingly she gazed at the sun bleached photograph, yellow with age, showing a young couple smiling shyly at each other.He resplendent in some bygone uniform showing duty to his country and she delicately pretty in florals and lace, bonnet trailing from fingers gently clasped between his.

Harry.

Even as she gazed the fog came and eyes clouded over, picture already forgotten falling into her lap and memories of him vanishing like mist in the sun. In the shadows of the room a figure waited, brass buttons shining on a uniform of old, boyish face echoing the love reflected earlier on hers. He could wait, he’d waited such a long time that a little longer would not hurt. 

‘Soon my love’ he smiled ‘ i shall see you soon’ 

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Charity begins at home

I’m a hoarder! there i said it.

Actually perhaps that would’ve been more effective in some addicts group where i stand up and say ”Hi i’m Amanda and i’m a hoarder”

The truth is i’m actually a bit of a contradiction for although i like to hoard i’m also exceptionally tidy and get rather obsessive about clutter being on view. Mess bugs me, i mean REALLY bugs me in a ‘hey i’m going to spoil your day’ kind of way. So You’d never guess that somewhere lurking away i have a zillion things waiting to tumble from cupboards and crammed so high under the bed that it barely stands on its own four feet. I know i dont need 40 pairs of jeans and 50 pairs of boots/ shoes but i like them! Sure i have a kindle and i dont need the hundreds of books tucked into dozens of small spaces around the room and nor do i need my own personal blockbusters store but who cares i want one!!

But sometimes even i have to admit that things are getting out of hand and stuff just isnt going to be used, hey if it was i wouldnt have replaced it with something better right?? So yesterday i decided a really good clear out was in order and figured i’d have a ruthless sort through and donate to charity. Some time later with a large pile of belongings building small walls around me i cringed in horror as i sorted through a long untouched CD collection. All of my music is on my pc so none of them ever get played. More to the point did i really go out and buy some of this stuff??!!. Backstreet boys, nsync, kylie minogue, steps(okay that one,  that’s definitely not mine!!) Okay one big charity bag coming up!!

Movie promo tshirts, competition prizes from my comping days, books, old mp3 players, the list goes on and on and the bags steadily grew. That bed throw i hated( well it looked okay in the store!) pretty but redundant laundry basket cluttering up the bottom of the stairs and that lamp i replaced ages ago. Oh it grew and grew. Coming down for lunch my son tripped over a playstation cable and surveyed the mess before exclaiming loudly ”i didnt hear the bomb drop!” 

Don’t you just love sarcasm!! Actually confession time i think he gets it from me, sarcastic humour seems to run in our family and irony whilst bypassing many is definitely not lost on us!!

Hours and hours later i had the mini mountain sorted and the ‘okay i’ll part with it if you prise it from my grip’ pile was barring the way out of my front door. Having wheedled darling son into volunteering to take it to the charity shop i did make a concession and agree to let him go when it was dark and give in to his refusal to carry a large dried flower arrangement.Okay i can see his point a teenager doesnt want to be seen wandering through town with mummys dried flowers, im not that harsh. 

So as my contribution to charity disappeared up the road i sat myself down with the only trunk in the house that will never be cleared out. My memory chest. Years and years of special memories,  love letters, gifts, even train tickets from special days out with special people. My ‘something to look back on when i am old’ box.  And as i cleaned off the dust i had to smile at an old painted hand print from when my youngest was small, poem about sticky hand prints all long ago faded as she leaves in a cloud of perfume calling a goodbye over her shoulder. But i have only to open my trunk and remember, a lifetime of special memories.Some things are just worth hoarding..arent they.

 

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