Wasteland

I wish I could talk about my memories the way people do in books. They always describe them so vividly, what they were thinking, the smell in the air, the moments leading up to the memory, and it always fits right into the storyline, maybe it’s a symbolic scene, parallel to what the heroine is going through at the moment, or a revelation, a re-understanding of the past.

It’s never a fog. Never a mist of words, sensations, was it cold that day? I remember clouds and a bit of dampness, and it must have been because I was wearing my jacket. Who was I with again; there is never the question of, remember when we did this, the answer never being, no, it wasn’t me, must have been someone else.

They draw the scene out from their mind-palace. They take you from room to room, showing you the intricate details of a tree-leaf, telling you, look here, this is all gone now. The wind might have blown away the leaves, but the memories stay put. A heroine could walk around a forest and remember the changes, feel it, sense it. It’s the art of story-telling.

They make you follow as they walk from the grand-hall, into the library, into the garden. If I were to show you around my mind-palace, you’d see nothing but a wasteland. I’d try to find my memories, examine the ground, calling for you to help, anything you can see, anything. And if I’d be lucky enough to find a leaf, I’d hold it in my hands and wonder where it came from. From what memory did it belong? Then I’d walk on the dry stone, the heat rising from the ground to the sky, all the way across to a little bundle. I’d kneel down in front of it, leaf in hand and open up the bundle, you’d now notice it is a small bag, and I’d place the leaf inside among with my other things.

I’d turn to you, and you’d get the answer to your question by looking into my eyes. I don’t know either.

And why are you here? In my mind palace? In this wasteland? Are you a memory of mine, or are you only here to help me look? Or perhaps, are you the reason the memories are hiding? Are you an intruder, trying to see into my mind, only to find a dry land of dirt and stone and sand? When you reach out for the bag I give it to you. When you open it I say nothing, not even when you turn it upside down, in the hopes of letting its contents fall. But nothing falls and, perplexed you look inside the bag. You reach into it, feel around, and find it to be empty. The leaf is gone.

Is this really how you feel? You might want to ask. Is your mind really just filled with a little dust and nothing more?

It’s sounds sad, doesn’t it? But don’t be fooled; big castles with big rooms, even if they are filled with people can be emptier than a desert. How different is it to wander around dim hallways, which resemble mazes, some of them slanted so when you trip and fall on the heavy carpet you only keep falling, you climb the walls, slide to the ceiling and only keep falling. And how is that better than the vast space of my mind? And aren’t minds usually lonely places to be? Isn’t it the sharing of the minds that makes the flowers grow? What are we, but a little dust and nothing more, if not for other people?

And who would find a space of peace and quiet to think in a bustling castle? Isn’t it better to sit alone among nature; to walk around, looking for leaflets? Isn’t it crowded to see your entire life before your eyes? Is there even room for more?

In a wasteland, the air is all there is, so much to breathe, and even though it might seem a sodden place, with its grey and brown colours, you need only look up into the sky to see the blue, the white and the bright sun shining down on everything.

And when the mist comes, pulling the clouds down from the sky, filling the drought in a fog, you notice that here they are. You reach out a hand, and when you feel the dampness on your skin you realise, memories don’t exist as objects in a palace, they are droplets in the mist, which from your touch, seep into your skin, and to your heart.  

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