Thursday March 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the memory box.

Spent part of the day going through boxes of my old stuff that were moved from the old house. There's not really space for it here, so it's a matter of choosing which stuff can be: a) donated, b) recycled, c) trashed, d) kept here until I have space for it at my own house, and e) kept and brought home this trip.

So far it's been a whole lot of b and c, with a little bit of a, d, and e. It's slow going though, because it's pretty much impossible for me to not linger over items that trigger so many memories. I'd honestly forgotten about so much of that stuff.

Anyway, prompt inspiration.


It appears so plain and unimportant on the outside. As though nothing of interest could possibly reside within. Neglect me, it seems to say. Let dust conceal my existence from the outside world.

But I see you. I know exactly where you are. More importantly, I know what you hold inside your walls.

There is only one question left for me to answer now. Standing here before this simple box I'm still unsure of my answer. It is not a complicated question, but it fills me with doubt and leaves me deeply, deeply conflicted.

It is a question with only two possible answers. That's all. I can feel the two sides battling inside my skull, crashing into each other before swirling away into chaos as they prepare their next attack. It should not be this difficult to answer such a seemingly straightforward question.

Deep breath. Deep breath.


Should I open it?


Greg said...

I wonder if the people who go for minimalism, with nothing in their houses that doesn't serve an (immediate) purpose know what they're missing out on? I always find that after an hour or so I speed up a little as many of the memories are from the same period and they don't need to play out over and over again :) It sounds like you're having fun though!
Hmm, I like the conflict that your narrator has, almost as though this is their very own Pandora's box. Which, I guess given the likely contents, it could just be. The descriptions, especially at the start are spot on, though the idea of a box having walls (rather than sides) did puzzle me briefly. I've decided it's a very big box indeed :)

The memory box
There was a shriek somewhere. It was probably further away than it sounded, but sounds (and screams, and shrieks) carried very well in the still, dry air. The Pure Maiden probably hadn't caught him yet, but Isabella was betting that it wouldn't take her long.
Isabella was stood in a declivity from which the Pure Maiden had arisen holding an ornate bone-coloured box in her hands. In her experience anyone who was angry enough to defy death and wait for new victims kept things of value to them nearby, and the box had been half-uncovered when the Pure Maiden stood up. It was deeply engraved with detailed patterns; what looked like octopus tentacles sprawled across all surfaces, holding faces, flowers and what might have been trees in various places. There was a clasp on the front that held the box closed that was shaped like an elephant's head, with the trunk being the tongue that needed to be lifted to open the box.
Isabella's hand hovered at the trunk. She was itching to open the box, but something about it was nagging at her like a hangnail of memory. Somewhere close now there was another scream, and Isabella estimated that she had perhaps five minutes now before she'd have to flee herself.
"Never forget," she breathed softly. "This is a memory box. This is the memory box of the Pure Maiden." Her fingers twitched ever closer to the tongue, desperately curious now to open it and find out what memories the Maiden had stored, but her mercenary brain clamped down on them and pulled them away again. The box would be worth a fortune to the right collector – yet another scream reminded her that there was about to be one fewer in the world – and there was a good chance this was a trap anyway.
She slipped the memory box into a pocket, and turned to find her way out.

Anonymous said...

I recently had to go through and decide what I was going to take to my new apartment, throw away, and keep at my parent's house for future use. It was very difficult, indeed.

Happy Friday the 13th!

The Memory Box:

The box was right there in front of me.
Finally, after years of searching, after losing any friend or loved one I had ever had in this “futile” search of mine. Dredd Charlie’s greatest treasure was right before me, right at my fingertips. The legend of what he hid away from the world in order to accomplish all his infamous deeds would finally be discovered. And by me, no less.
The box before me was constructed out of a dark wood, no larger in size than a ring box at the high-end merchant’s stand in the square. The top and sides were decorated in intricate carvings of stars and rosebuds, a merging of vines and light beams twirling and twining all along the edges. The box was nothing if not a work of art; I could only imagine the amount of money Dredd Charlie had to pay. And this was supposed to be prior to his string of robberies and conspiracies.
My hands were trembling as I approached. For a moment, I thought that finding the box was enough to satisfy my lifelong quest. But the knowledge of what was so precious to him was far too great to pass by. I slowly reached out my hand and opened the box.
A sudden burst of light caused me to step back as my mind was assaulted by image after image. There was a young girl with hair as red as fire. I saw her change from being a child to an adult; her face shifting from the roundness of youth to the angles and delicate curves of young adulthood. Freckles gradually walked across her cheeks. I saw her angry, sad, happy, and asleep. I saw her in the most ordinary and extraordinary situations one’s mind could imagine, ranging from conversations to meals to quite a few instances of lovemaking. Finally, I saw her nice rosy cheeks turn pale with spots of crimson marring the otherwise perfect skin. I saw those bright blue eyes dull and felt two stabs of pain right through my heart; mine at the sight of her and what I could only imagine as Dredd Charlie’s own despair.
This girl, the love of Dredd Charlie’s life, was what he chose to hide from the world. Somehow, at some moment in history, the death of his love caused him to become the greatest thief our world would ever know.

Lakshmi Nambiar said...

My friend and I once made a pact- as days passed we would add little trinkets and treasures- odds and ends, that for us was a special memory each, and on our Graduation Day we would open it, and laugh and cry over days well spent....

The Memory Box
After searching and searching, I find at last
What to most is a simple, wooden box,
But to me, a key to the past.

Odds and ends, bits and bobs it holds,
But these trinkets are treasure
For as I look at them, stories unfold.

The fights I had, that one special gift,
The pacts made and promises kept,
I look back on those days, and my spirits lift.

Despite the nostalgia closing in fast,
I take one long, last look and put the box in the trash
Because sooner or later, we’ve all got to let go of our past

Marc said...

Greg - hah, yes I suppose that would make it a very big box.

Great description of the memory box, and I'm very glad that you chose to continue this one. Very satisfying!

Ivybennet - yeah, it's so tempting to just keep holding on to things that really just take up space, isn't it?

I also enjoyed your description of your memory box, there's some great details in there. And I really liked the tale its contents had to tell :)

Lakshmi - hello and welcome to the blog (sorry it took so long to reply - I'm working on catching up today).

That is an excellent idea! I bet when it comes time to open it up it will be worth the effort :)

Wow, that is an impressive amount of detail and emotion and story to convey in just four short stanzas! And that's an excellent ending as well. Very impressive. I look forward to seeing more of your writing here :)