I awake to a great silence, as if life has forgotten about me and just walked away. My heart grieves for this loss of me, not knowing I am still there listening. I walk my mind across my skin confirming I am still intact as my eyes take inventory of the space around me, empty but for the heap of words piled up beside me. A single thought surfaces: there is something I need to remember.
I pick up one of the words: kite. Yellow and dangling from my fingers, the word exudes a faint scent of lemon. I place the word before me and watch as the surface transforms from a slate of nothingness to the softest hue of green, my yellow kite rippling softly above my head.
I search for another word. I see “Pat,” my mother’s name. I pull and find myself holding patience – how fitting – a silky word that gives my space a periwinkle sky.
A spot of red is almost blinding in this subtle space of mine. Of course… love, adding a nice touch of red poppy flowers in the distance. I find kindness and lay down a soft blanket under my periwinkle sky. Humility gives me an old oak and generous shade against the harsh sun of pride. A sudden movement in the pile startles me and I rifle through my words until I find music, one of its wings trapped under the heavy T of Time. Anger fills my space with searing heat while forgiveness provides a pool of clear water in which to cool my spirit. Not surprisingly, sadness drifts overhead in clouds of salty tears.
I stop and gaze upon this world that my words have built, a lovely place of comfort and quiet contemplation. And yet… the silence overtakes me, for my life has not yet come back for me.
I look back at my words, I must build more ambitiously.
A dark and ominous word stares back at me, calling to be a part of this idyllic setting. As I add fear to the space before me, the space appears to grow indefinitely, expanding far beyond the limits of what I had envisioned was my room. The edges of my room seem to fade away into the distance at once beckoning and yet issuing an ominous portent.
I pick up courage, a sturdy pair of shoes, and place them on my feet. There is nothing left for me here, it is time to go. As I turn to walk away I hear a sigh, it is the quiet sound my baby makes in the stillness of the night, his tiny chest rising and falling with the slumber that has overtaken him as he lies wrapped in my embrace…
Ah, there it is, life. So she has not forsaken me after all. As I take a step into the vast space that lies before me armed with all I must not forget, I look back at the word I have chosen to leave behind, at least for now. Death sits quietly, alone and in no hurry, for she knows I will come back for her one day.
“Write what should not be forgotten” by Isabel Allende.
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