The Closet of Memories


She sat staring out of the window watching the clouds roll in. It was going to be a stormy day according to the weather forecast. It was a day for quiet contemplation, a day to evaluate life and review past choices. Liz could see her reflection in the glass. Gray hair dominated her head, but there were still bits of the reddish-brown hiding amongst the frost. They were like dying embers in a fire banked by snow -- oddly comforting -- a hint of the flame that once burned brightly.
Her mind wandered the closet of her memories picking and choosing this moment and that friend, accessorizing them around her like a favorite outfit. In her early years, the closet was full to bursting with friends, so many moments captured in pictures, postcards, and memorabilia like saved concert ticket stubs, receipts from train rides in foreign countries, and trinkets. It was a messy closet, but what fun to go through it on days like this one!
As the years passed, she weeded out the old, the unused, the ‘no longer trendy’ people, but kept the tried and true. The small room in her mind got a little cleaner. She could actually walk through it without tripping over something or someone who should no longer be there.
Time marched steadily forward sprinkling dust on some memories, and covering others in cobwebs. The people still visible in her life were visited often and new memories were added to those. But Liz grew. Her open mind accepted new ideas. Her experiences altered her beliefs, and shaped the person she continued to evolve into. Still, she kept her favorites pristine upon their shelves telling them often how much she loved them, showing them constant care while neglecting herself.
With each new season came another growth spurt , and Liz’s circle shrank further. As she grew older, she knew she didn’t need as much, was in absolutely no rush to be anywhere. In fact, she’d slowed down quite a bit and wanted simply to stand still. In those moments of quietude, she heard herself. That sound was loud and clear. Be who you are, it said. Don’t give away all of yourself to others, and do not back down from your beliefs to please someone else. It was within that bubble of consciousness, that second of clarity that Liz fully embraced her own soul. It was then she could see the holes in herself – the missing pieces painfully cut away because someone she loved and trusted told her they were no good. Don’t do this, Liz. Don’t say that, Liz. It’s not what I believe, Liz, so you cannot, either. The wind whistled through each gaping wound with the force of a hurricane. But they could be healed. They just needed tending.
The mental compartment was once again decluttered. Out went the harmful remembrances and the people connected to them. The space was now organized with only the most important moments arranged neatly, easily accessible. The room was so clean, she noticed for the first time the windows in the walls. Without all the hoarded memories, warm sunlight shone through, and Liz could see out into the green fields and gardens. She could see the world she once missed like the forest for the trees. She could see…herself, reflected back in the glass – an old woman now where once upon a time a young girl stood excited to fill her closet of memories. She smiled at her reflection, and accepted the journey that brought her to this point. The wind died down as the holes filled in, disappearing slowly as the rain began to fall.

Original prose by M.E. Gwynn, 2015 (C) All Rights Reserved. This material may not be copied in part or whole without the permission of the author.

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