These Things (flash fiction)

Ellen shook her head and smiled to herself.  She knew that what she saw in these things was invisible.  She knew that they were mostly made of memory, and that she carried those memories alone.
 
They were like the lines on the pantry door where her mom used to keep track of all of the kids’ heights from year to year. The measuring was a part of their birthday rituals, along with chocolate cake and pretending that they all got along.  Every line held an invisible story.
 
Ellen still has the coffee mug with the mountains on it that Jonathan gave her before their relationship got chipped beyond repair. She still drinks from it in moments of melancholy and regret, as if it will conjure him across the kitchen table. 
 
She sometimes carries the amethyst heart she found by the lake the summer she tried to be a painter.  She is sure there is magic in it!
 
Ellen especially cherishes the brass candlesticks that her great-grandmother brought with her on the boat from Russia. She has appointed herself the guardian of the memories of her ancestors. She can imagine the hands that have struck matches through time, illuminating faces long gone.
 
There are stories in these things.  There is love and pain and treasured memories in these things. Ellen wonders if her treasures will all become trash, and thrift-store finds, when it is her time to go.  For now, they all have stories to tell, and she loves to listen...  
 
What stories do your treasures tell? 

6 comments

  • Bryan Abes

    Bryan Abes Kennett square, PA

    Ok Denise, this may sound crazy, but one of my top most cherished treasures are these pee and poop stains that my angelic little Maltese had left all over my bedroom carpet(as well as many other carpets). She was put down in the year 2009. I loved her with my entire heart just the way you said you love Lora. I have a picture of her on our refrigerator that I talk to and kiss everyday, but the memories of her that stand out the most are those stains because they actually came from her. Her name was snowy, but I also called her my "angelicious baby" among many other love names. - Bryan

    Ok Denise, this may sound crazy, but one of my top most cherished treasures are these pee and poop stains that my angelic little Maltese had left all over my bedroom carpet(as well as many other carpets). She was put down in the year 2009. I loved her with my entire heart just the way you said you love Lora. I have a picture of her on our refrigerator that I talk to and kiss everyday, but the memories of her that stand out the most are those stains because they actually came from her. Her name was snowy, but I also called her my "angelicious baby" among many other love names.
    - Bryan

  • Denise

    Denise

    Hi Bryan. I do get that. An animal I loved dearly bit me badly many years ago. Now, I kind of like the scar it left behind. It is not noticeable to other people, but to me, it is a piece of that relationship that was lost. I am sorry for your loss, and I can tell that you gave Snowy a special life filled with a lot of love.

    Hi Bryan. I do get that. An animal I loved dearly bit me badly many years ago. Now, I kind of like the scar it left behind. It is not noticeable to other people, but to me, it is a piece of that relationship that was lost. I am sorry for your loss, and I can tell that you gave Snowy a special life filled with a lot of love.

  • harry david

    harry david maine

    tears. a smile. a chipped mug of my own. i too have many invisible memories; so vivid and talking to me. i look up from where i am typing and see the yearly growth pencil lines on the doorway. tears. the last one of my daughter is 6-6-12. questions pop in. where has she gone. why so long. kids grow up and leave cracked mugs. stained blankets. empty chairs. i cant write more until it stops hurting and i can see the screen again

    tears. a smile. a chipped mug of my own. i too have many invisible memories; so vivid and talking to me. i look up from where i am typing and see the yearly growth pencil lines on the doorway. tears. the last one of my daughter is 6-6-12. questions pop in. where has she gone. why so long. kids grow up and leave cracked mugs. stained blankets. empty chairs. i cant write more until it stops hurting and i can see the screen again

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Harry David! I hope there were happy memories talking to you too as you looked around. I know it is hard to let go of special times and special people. I know that heartache well. I also know that there are always new memories being created. I am sorry that this piece caused you pain. I would never want that. Sending a hug your way...

    Harry David! I hope there were happy memories talking to you too as you looked around. I know it is hard to let go of special times and special people. I know that heartache well. I also know that there are always new memories being created. I am sorry that this piece caused you pain. I would never want that. Sending a hug your way...

  • Debbie Fox

    Debbie Fox Wynnewood

    I can appreciate the push and pull of deciding which special mementos to hold onto and which ones to toss. My uncle gave me a handwoven llama from the time he spent in the Peace Corps in Peru in the 1960's. I cherished it. However, over time, it did not do well suffering through the humidity of Philadelphia summers. Eventually it started to grow mold and disintegrate. I decided the best thing to do was photograph it and keep it that way. I am so glad I did. Photographic memories can be a good substitute for the real thing.

    I can appreciate the push and pull of deciding which special mementos to hold onto and which ones to toss. My uncle gave me a handwoven llama from the time he spent in the Peace Corps in Peru in the 1960's. I cherished it. However, over time, it did not do well suffering through the humidity of Philadelphia summers. Eventually it started to grow mold and disintegrate. I decided the best thing to do was photograph it and keep it that way. I am so glad I did. Photographic memories can be a good substitute for the real thing.

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Hi Debbie! You are right about the photographs. That is a good idea. I will remember that as I go through my things. I have some photo memories of us when we were growing up. Thanks for stopping by. It is always great to hear from you.

    Hi Debbie! You are right about the photographs. That is a good idea. I will remember that as I go through my things. I have some photo memories of us when we were growing up.
    Thanks for stopping by. It is always great to hear from you.

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