#Fridayflash Three Objects

On every birthday she took out the box, high in the cupboard, behind her suitcase, behind the clothes of other season. In the box there was a photograph, the sliver of hair, the first suit that only fit him for a week. She took out the photograph and placed it face down on the bed. She took out the hair and felt the curl of it round her finger and saw the colour of it. It was nothing like her own. It was dark, a jet black oil smudge. She took out the suit and watched it retreating every year, it fit in her hand, she crushed it. She did not put it to her face. It no longer had the smell of him.

She placed the three objects side by side: The face down photograph, the lock of hair, back in it’s envelope, the baby suit, flattened out. She felt the place where she sat on the bed sink down and give way. She waited until her breath was steady, until the rhythm of heart repaired. Then she put the photograph back in the box, to the side the lock of hair in the envelope which made a faint sound as she laid it down, then on top the suit, fit into the box in the shape of a child. She patted the fabric down. Then she closed the lid of the box, reached up and put it back into the cupboard, behind the clothes from before, behind her suitcase and all it’s possibilities.

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15 comments

  1. wonderful, powerful economy that packs an emotional punch. I don’t know if the child has vanished simply by growing, or has actually died. I’m sure the longer context of the book will provide answers, but I don’t actually think it matters. This works perfectly as a short in itself

  2. I really enjoyed this Alison, I could totally relate to it. I’m writing a piece at the moment, a memory piece about finding my sisters’ baby clothes hidden away at the top of my parents wardrobe in a big brown flower box. Sadly she died of a cot death, but I still remember opening that box and seeing the sea of white and pink clothes, and how soft they felt.

    1. Oh Louise what a powerful and poignant memory and so sad for your parents. This comes from my novel where people who have lost others or who have lost sight of themselves find memories and stories that can help.

  3. Memories are a complicated thing and can be triggered by the faintest scent, by the smallest things, like these three objects, or by … anything.
    Lovely description of this little moment in her day, which holds so much significance to her.

  4. Sad… I’m guessing she lost her baby somehow and this would have been his birthday. And yet, the “suitcase and all its possibilities” holds out a ray of hope.

  5. Mementos are potent when they actually function. I enjoyed how the form of this, only two paragraphs long and largely about evocative detail or actual projection, reflects the way mementos work as well.

  6. Grief, in film or television (and some novels) is often depicted as something melodramatic, stormy, a wave of insanity waiting to break. Reality is closer to something almost banal, too-common, too ordinary. There is always that point where you just have to ‘get on with things.’ You’ve written that in-between-area, the one no one really sees until they live it. Ghost-worthy.

  7. WOW this is powerfully brilliant – I love the emotion that sit right at the surface of the whole flash, without saying exactly whats ahppened, you know – you just know!
    Great work

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