Lost & Found

Found it. He was driving home, a hard day at work. Pushing the car fast on an empty highway, speeding through trees and houses quiet as if no one ever lived there. Cobwebs gleamed at the corners of his imagination. Tired, dazed by the gray of the road, the green of the fields, the white and the red of the signs, a long forgotten scent hit him right in the face and combed his memory backwards in the shape of a girl, and a book. A closet he removed from existance opened, flooded his vision, blurred his awareness. Dozens of expired love letters randomly piling up with the vehemence of a hundred falling houses of cards. Hazy days consumed by spying on each other through the pages of a textbook, dropping a pen for an excuse to sneak in just one more accomplished smile. Chilly nights spent camping with a patched up backpack, hungry for a future made of uncertainty. Holding hands, making love in the lake and laughing as if there were no water that could drown them. Holding hands, crying for a breakup that only made sense for a day, and then was already too late.

He got home, spotted the house through a line of identical ones perfectly placed side by side, lined the car with the clean, organized pathway to the garage. He rushed inside, forgetting the neat briefcase on the passenger seat, forgetting to scrub his shoes on the doormat, straight to the storage room. One box said “dad,” another one said “summer,” and a large, sturdier one said “parts.” He moved them away and finally reached for the one that said “books.” Opened it, coughed his way through the dust, grabbed the blue, lean one with a foreign author’s name on the side. Turned a few pages, and there it was. A discoloured, yellowed photo. In it, he was yelling something, rage in his eyes and in his long unkempt beard. His left hand was raised in a fist, while his right was gently holding a girl with curly and long black hair. The girl was holding a sign with bold, firm words on it while sitting on a fence made of people and sneering at a line of expressionless guys wearing uniforms and helmets. Her left hand, though, was locked on his wrist, barely noticeable due to the bad aging of the picture. He stared at that for what he thought was twenty years. But was instead just one minute.

From the hallway echoed a woman’s voice: “Honey? Are you back? Where are you? The kids are waiting for you to drive them to the mall like you promised. Are you there?”

“Yes,” he heard himself replying without thinking. “Sure honey. Yeah, I remember. I’m coming.” He put the photo back in, closed the book. He lost it again.

Too Late

Drew Falconeer