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 the edges.
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 discernible whole. The complete memory burst forth.
The handkerchief was his fiance’s.
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. “She’s beautiful.”
His wife stood. “I think so, too.”
“I’ve always wanted a child.”
“Take her some chocolate, Henry.”
The woman asked. She held the child's hand. "John
the memories: "Eileen?"
Mother died thirty years ago. I'm your daughter."
turned and headed back inside.
This was written for this weekend's Trifecta Writing Challenge. We were to take an existing piece we wrote for Trifecta and add thirty-three words to it.
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge