Like an old filmstrip, my mind reels back to a time when we were all much younger and healthier; a distant memory behind all the haze created by adulthood drama and many nights of drinking too much wine. I can find this frame when I get lost inside myself, sliding down tunnels through memories to the caverns where childhood moments rest eternally. Brush off the dust. It is time for a break from the reality of the here and now to recall a story from some past life. Though current stresses and circumstances threaten to steal from us the best of what is left in our mortal remembrance box, there are some stories that will always remain protected from the distractions of the present.
There is a young blonde girl and two adult women. They are dancing and singing in the living room of the small house. I am standing on the wooden porch, looking through the window as the snow begins to fall silently outside. I am outside, and then I am her: the girl. Giggling and content, she wishes that this moment would never end. The older women are enjoying a respite from years of strained journeys. This is a rare event, and the little girl knows that she must never forget this. The oldest woman grabs a broom and pretends to sing into the top of the broomstick. The younger woman collapses on the couch next to the girl, giddy with wine and amusement. Music floats into the room from the outdated player in the kitchen.
I am no longer the girl, but I can feel what she feels. I am happy and warm inside the tiny row house. There is a decorated Christmas tree in the corner of the quaint room, and a humble fire burning in the fireplace directly in front of where the younger woman and the girl sit on the couch. As a keen observer of this delicate scene, I am intently studying these women. There are years of love and family, pain and shared sorrow, strain and unacknowledged successes. What I fail to feel between them is something lasting. All of the emotions that escape their souls and drift throughout the room are ethereal. This happiness will also be brief. I, like the small girl, am struck by an awareness that this moment will not last. Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow will be slightly sadder for each of them because they will forget this special time together. They will forget the peacefulness of the snow falling outside the window, the crackle of the warm fire in front of them, and the fleeting mutual enjoyment of good music and wine. Most unfortunate of all is that they will eventually forget each other.
I whisper in the ear of the blonde girl and tell her that she must remember this time. She must always think of happiness when she sees the snow. I don’t know if she hears me, but she nods to the music. I hope she will always protect this memory in her mind’s lockbox. I know she will because I always come back to this place.