Each time the memory tried to surface, Henry forced his
brain to skirt it. He wrapped it up
tightly, sealed it in plastic and shoved it to the back of his mind.
But his stupid, stubborn brain would circle the memory,
seize it, shake it; deliver small unexpected packets of it the way the internet
chops information into bits before sending it.
Snippets came to him; sharp pinpricks that sent him reeling.
There was the monogrammed handkerchief. Cotton.
Pink. Flowers embroidered upon
There was the seven-digit sequence.
There was the feel of peach skin; the scent of strawberries;
his certainty of his hatred for chocolate.
Henry toyed with a
pen. Through the window, he saw a girl
and her mother in the park. The girl had
a yellow balloon tied to her wrist.
One yellow balloon.
One yellow balloon was all it took.
The bits and pieces arranged themselves into a discernable
whole. The complete memory burst forth.
The handkerchief was
The digits her telephone number.
The peach skin…
His wife startled and dropped her mug. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing. Sorry.” But he knew: That woman standing before him
was not his wife. And he wasn’t Henry.
“Get me a towel.”
He stood and made his way to the kitchen.
He picked up the telephone and began to dial.
But he realized that he could no longer recall the sequence.
And the memory of the pink handkerchief faded and drifted.
“Henry, the towel?”
‘Coming.” He selected
a pink towel. Just before heading back
to the living room, he took a chocolate bar from the freezer. “Here you are, darling.”
“Thank you, Henry. I
see you found the chocolate. I thought
you’d sworn it off?”
“I couldn’t resist.” Through the window, Henry saw a little girl playing in the
park, a yellow balloon tied to her wrist.
His wife stood. “I think so, too.”
“I’ve always wanted a daughter.”
“Take her some chocolate, Henry.”
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge