Sentiment (or how I found something under the bed)

I sit facing the computer screen: I sit absorbed in another’s words, frequently reaching for the Garfield mug that holds near-cold tea (delicious), and once I’ve swallowed I lick its taste off of my lips. My eyes occasionally drift from the screen; tired green eyes with ever so dark smudges under them (the down side of working a 50+-hour week), eyes that I think belong to a skeleton when I look in the mirror.

And suddenly I need it.

The memory image of fingers unwrapping the cellophane package, the feel of their wood between my fingertips, the musty scent of incense clinging to their paint that brought image upon image to my eyes of the shop in which they hung. I discarded them into a place of other such things, a place that would ensure their safety when I moved house.

A place so safe, that I’ve now forgotten it’s whereabouts.

And then that preternatural thought comes again: in the box under the bed.

I’m kneeling and pulling up the quilt and reaching under, hands grasping the boot-box that used to contain my once new ‘shit-kicker’ boots (as someone once called them) but is now a home for my collection of memories. That’s the sentimental term for some of the bit’s ‘n’ pieces that I just can’t throw away. Ok, so mostly it’s junk.

I’m rummaging, picking up pictures, old birthday cards and an air letter from my Mum that never reached me telling me of my Grandfather’s death. The scent of tobacco from cigarette boxes reaches my nostrils; there’s the (empty) pack of Camel Wides that my lover gave me just before I left to go to the airport (damn I wanted them on that eighteen hour flight); and from beneath a Dictaphone I see the red and gold gleam of the Djarum packet. The sigh escapes of its own accord…a clove would go down real nice right about now. I’ve yet to find a shop in this country that has heard of them, never-mind sells them.

My fingertips dig past black wires of a set of headphones; an ancient pack of playing cards held together with a hair-band that I used to wear when I was seven; the handle to a Guinness pump (a proud trophy that a friend acquired for me at the pub we would always shirk from college at); and then I glimpse the burgundy and terracotta, and know that I’ve found it.

A string of beads, that I received as a present from a family member and never wore, thinking that they weren’t my style (along with the luminous orange T-shirt…do you even know my dress sense?)…and here I am, fastening the beads around my neck. A quiet and sentimental reflection comes with their wearing, an absolution that says I’m sorry that I never wore them before, and as I look in the mirror, I think they are my style after all. To my eyes, it’s Bohemian against pale skin; it’s the wild dark hair and beads of the gypsy ancestry that I wish I knew more about. It’s a talisman for all the things that I’d forgotten.

I sit here now with those ‘shit-kicker’ boots on and the cuppa long finished and a wry smile of my lips as I wonder: is it mere sentimentality that makes me write this? In that box are memories that assure me that I am a part of this life that I hold dear. For the briefest of moments, I rise above the insecurity that I’m feeling at this time of life – the insecurities of wondering whether the degree I’ve got is actually worth the paper it’s printed on in the world beyond university; the rejection letter that fell through the letterbox last week from the bookshop I’d applied to, along with yet another bill; the soul-ebbing sadness of my lover being half a world away from me…this all fades when my past and the building blocks of who I am see the light of day. I am more than this frustration and longing and soft sighs when my strength fades into weakness. I am more than the impression of “gloom and doom” and pessimism that appears in the words you are now reading. I am a blue-print for the memories that I have yet to live, for the objects that will be forgotten in a box and found by my grandchildren when I am dead – and as they pick up the beads, will they see the silver fingernails tapping the keyboard, the teeth nibbling on the cracked skin of lips, the hazel eyes straying from the computer screen to the picture of a man, resting upon the desk?

Of course they won’t.

But I bet that if you followed them back to their bedroom, and sneaked a look under the bed, you’d see a similar box, with a similar purpose, containing a similar talisman that just wasn’t their style.

By DebonyRain

I'm a dreamer...a drop of ebony in the rain...guess that's the best description, what with my cherry cigarettes and earl grey tea. I write a lot, try to inspire myself to take more pictures, play dark and bloody and odd computer games when my body's telli