The Little Book of Oblivion: Final Part.

by | Dec 12, 2023 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Like a burst dam, the confined adoration poured from me in the direction of my exquisite friend.

I sipped the hot brew, savouring the refreshing metallic effect of tannin mixed with the malty sweetness of the Assam leaves. The decision was made. I would return to the agonising day I saw her for the last time.

I picked up John’s pen and recorded the events literally, from taking the metro that morning, the twenty second of March twenty twenty-three.  Twenty nine years and three hundred and sixty-four days since she’d graced this planet with her beautiful presence.

The memories came flooding back, including the awkward chance encounter with my late wife’s sister on the train. After what seemed like hours, I had filled seven pages of the book, right up to the point where I stormed out on her. She had decided to spend her birthday alone in Edinburgh. A city where we’d passed several magical days together and was now prohibited to me.

Looking down at the seven sheets, fanned out like a deadly hand of poker, I began to fill up. Tears welled up, distorting the image of black on pink before finally escaping their birthplace to splash onto the top sheet. As the clear liquid revived the dry ink, it sent black lines, like the legs of several spiders, running across the paper.

Snatching the first sheet, I crushed it with my fist, and rolled it between my palms. This was repeated until I had a row of  little balls of my life, each trapping one seventh of the anguish of that day.

Gathering them together in both hands, I crossed to the bin, and pressed the pedal with my foot. The lid opened abruptly like the mouth of a hungry chick and seemed to beseech me to feed it. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and dropped the balls of paper. I allowed the lid to shut with a slam, not wanting to see the process of my voluntary amnesia.

Immediately, I had a change of heart. Opening the lid with one hand, I fished out each rose coloured pellet and placed them on the drainer. To my horror, but sadly predictable, I opened each blank sheet in turn. It was then that a perplexing feeling overcame me.

I began to wonder where she was. I checked my phone for messages, on each social media platform – nothing. It was evident she didn’t exist in my life. I tried to find her profile but it was missing as if she had never been born! This was crazy! We had a meeting the day before her birthday, then we were going somewhere special. I had booked tickets to visit Jane Austen’s house.

Where was she? My brain screamed in my skull, something was wrong. I even checked the rooms, rushing between the lounge and the bedroom, and even the bathroom.

Then, something else struck me. There wasn’t a trace of her in the whole flat. Our pictures had been removed and replaced by the twin’s paintings. She would never have tolerated that, such was her hatred for my friend.  I checked the wardrobe and the drawers, all containing my stuff. Returning to the kitchen, it slowly dawned on me when I clocked the book. Something had happened the day we were due to meet and it’s absence was to do with the book.

I read the words at the bottom of the page and it hit me. I had deleted the memory, the one that determined all of the changes to my life. I knew then, I had to systematically record every magical day we’d spent together, otherwise the unfinished witchery would tear my damaged mind apart.

***

Over the following three months, I painstakingly pulled every single day from the filing cabinet of my memory. I hardly took time to eat or drink, and barely slept. All messages went unanswered and the mail piled up on the doormat. I fended off friends and relatives with lame excuses as I stuck to my task. The the days, and pages, filled up, as my recollection of the woman grew faint. I couldn’t recall the simplest things, such as her likes and dislikes. The day I saw her for the first time, without her hijab, came and went leaving only the memory of the pretty Arab girl in the headdress.

Finally, after what seemed like an age, several bottles of ink, and three stone lighter, I arrived at the day of days. ****Brian day.

14/07/2020

Before I commenced writing, the callouses stinging on my thumb and index finger, I noticed something. There were two  pages remaining in the book, a fact which poured petrol on the flames of my cognitive inferno. This detail, accompanied by the image of The Girl in the Hijab, Holding the Bear, a solitary recollection of the love of my life, placed me on a sheer drop. One side peace, the other more of the same.

Pen touched paper.

There had to be a ceremony to this final act. A trumpet fanfare, dancing girls; what about some fireworks? I was torn between the lingering deep loss and the freedom of shedding the chains of her existence. I fabricated the tiniest, tightest of orbs from the penultimate roseate leaf. Holding it in my palm, I studied the seconds, the minutes, the hours contained therein. A precious and rare pink pearl appeared in my hand, begging me not to discard it. Resisting its allure, I relinquished its hold on me and consigned it to Oblivion.

The lid closed on the bin and my torment.

***

That morning, years fell from me like the skin of an onion. With every annual layer, pain vanished and was replaced by vitality. The remaining memory was that of love. A deep love for something intangible. Instead, it touched me. I finally acknowledged the existence of my phone with the message that arrived at that very moment. Ignoring the hundreds of others, I opened it.

Hello, Azizam. I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. How is the book? Have you tried it yet?

Like a burst dam, the confined adoration poured from me in the direction of my exquisite friend. Then, reality kicked in and the last page spoke to me. I had to repeat the process for her too. My love for her was no longer unconditional. Her engagement to another man threatened to break my newly repaired heart. However, I had been left with one small rectangle with which to eliminate the love of my life. The memory of the process still lingered even though I could see nothing more.

It suddenly occurred to me, from which end would I begin? Would it create a chain reaction, obliterating subsequent encounters?

An interesting thought and one which I decided to adopt. I picked up the Scheaffer fountain pen my brother had given me. It was my favourite. The date was easy, second of February twenty twenty, just before the pandemic. The message I received on Facebook was in response to the post I’d published weeks earlier, on my late wife’s birthday. I transcribed the response and repeated the process I had executed over three months, in reverse.

On disposing of the final sheet, my blank mind comprehended the words on the inside cover of the book.

  • Don’t ask questions
  • Move on with your life
  • Dispose of me as you did the pages
  • Good luck
  • Please leave a review if you enjoyed the experience
  • Thank you for shopping at the Emporium of Memories

I gently closed the empty cover of the book and placed it in the bin. Looking around, I realised how much I loved my little flat. I really must get something to hang on the walls. I thought.

1 Comment

  1. Kenneth Childs

    Beautifully descriptive and Heart rending memories.

    Reply

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