“Memento”

v.

It was late, and the apartment was dark safe for the weak glow coming from his laptop. The sandwich he made for himself 3 hours ago remained uneaten, and without having to touch his cup he knew the coffee was probably less than warm by now. Everything was silent. Even the busy streets that seemed to be awake 24/7 had toned down for the night.

He didn’t check the clock. All he knew was time was passing too quickly for him to finish the draft for his novel and give it to his editor in time for tomorrow morning. But he didn’t really care. It was a good way to distract himself, avoid the thoughts that he knew could edge into his mind if he let them resurface.

As he reread the writing on his laptop, his fingers absentmindedly touched the neck strap of his camera that he had forgotten was sitting on his desk for weeks, maybe months. As if something was reaching out to him, he grabbed the camera and turned it on. He didn’t know why, but his heart skipped a beat as he looked down upon the screen while his fingers trembled with anticipation.

Why hadn’t he delete these?

Silently, he scrolled through each picture and tried to remain composed. It was hard, though, as he thought about how many places they had gone to and the smiles and laughter that had once been so easily expressed dancing in front of him as digital pixels. Now, each memory was echoed by a dull thud from his heart and he tried to ignore the feeling in vain. Unsurprisingly, a wave of nostalgia washed over him. It was sentimental and melancholic. He rubbed his eyes that were beginning to blur the pictures in front of him. At this point, he wasn’t sure if it was the sheer fatigue of his work that was weighing him down or the emotional burden that had suddenly reappeared.

Here they were in the forest, the amusement park, the dance, the candlelit dinner, the city, the 

He paused at one of the last photos — a picture taken at the beach by a friend. A picture of a time he had forgotten.

The beach.

They were holding hands and running towards the sunset while the fluttering waves of low tide washed at their feet. As if by sheer coincidence, two shore birds were captured in that moment as well, flying overhead with their wings outstretched and contrasting the golden sky with their majestic black silhouettes.

Photographs have always been excellent tools for capturing every smile, frown, and expression into the confines of a single frame. And this one was no exception. It was as if time had frozen at that one, perfect moment.

At that time, there was a feeling of invincibility that they both shared. They were in love, and it would stay that way. It should stay that way.

Not anymore.

He breathed out emphatically as he saw the date on the picture. 11 months ago.

He wanted to ask himself how everything fell apart so readily. He did not have any pictures that captured the fights, the silence, and the final realization that it was really the end.

Are you sure you want to permanently delete these 520 items?

He wanted to, right then and there. Why not erase it all? Erase everything that they had once shared, the memories of yesterday. It was pretty easy, he thought as his finger itched to press the right button beside the screen. Wouldn’t that give him closure?

 

But he knew. He knew the true answer to that.

Sometimes, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

Sometimes it was for the best.

 

He wasn’t sure where the sudden realization came from. Certainly it wasn’t the paper he was supposed to have finished. Nonetheless, a glimmer crossed his face as the edges of his mouth curled up faintly. It was a look of understanding and…acceptance.

He felt calm, calm like the summer breeze and the ocean waves that day at the beach.

He looked longingly at the photo one last time, but this time with remembrance rather than unhappiness. Then he pressed one of the buttons on the camera.

 

“All exits lead to a new beginning.”


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~ by J. on August 14, 2011.

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