Memory Garden

Posted on June 24, 2009

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ANNA REMEMBERED PLAYING WITH DOLLS and making mud pies in the garden when she was little. She had friends then; a boy named Robert with freckled cheeks, a girl named Helen that always chewed gum. Anna liked to sit and remember her friends, they were the only real memories she had now.

Her eyes open to the cold room and a wind comes, fast and angry from the vents beneath her bed. She pulls the thin sheet over her head but does not keep it there. She is only ever allowed a moment of rebellion in the metallic room. In just three seconds the red lights are on and she knows it’s time to get up.

Anna remembered a girl named Kelly. Kelly had thick glasses and curly red hair. She liked to stare at things for a long time before commenting on them. Every morning she would examine Anna’s clothes, her eyes squinted behind those glasses. One day Kelly put her finger on Anna’s breastbone and snorted. “You’re heart is not human, it’s too big for our anatomy,” she said.

The shower is on in the next room and Anna slides through the door and under the water. It is warm today but not hot. At least it isn’t cold. Anna forgets what hot is like. Anna forgets most extremes in the metallic room. The shower lasts four minutes and twenty-two seconds. She just finishes.

Anna dries herself with the her bed-sheet and hangs the sheet over two hooks so it will dry. She spots the food plate next to the small slot in the wall and slides her feet over to it. She kneels down before the tray and places a piece of bread between her fingers. She hates this bread and she hates the butter. She chews with her eyes closed and pretends she is chewing on her mother’s pancakes. She tries to see her mother’s face but all she can see is Kelly Chisolm’s glass-eyed face looking her up and down.

Kelly was one of the first to die in the wave. Anna could remember the flame’s ripping her apart lick by lick. Anna had always hated Kelly, but seeing her consumed by fire was one of the memories she wished she had not regained.

When her last bite is swallowed the picture box appears on the opposite wall and begins to speak. An image of a storm appears. A man’s voice floods the room.

“This is a storm. Today there is rain and thunder outside. The latest reports show that three thousand and two areas have been hit by bolts of lightening. A bolt of lightening is hotter than the sun.”

A cartoon image of the sun appears, one with a smiley face and round, kind eyes. Then the screen goes silent and it’s image fades away, the wall returns to its normal color.

A knock is heard at the door. Anna is already dressed. She has a pink dress on, one with a white flower pattern and matching white gloves. It is time to go shopping.

When the world burned away, she lost everything. Her friends had never grown to be men and women. They had known the extreme though, and to end in it would be a most glorious thing.

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Posted in: June 2009