Forgotten Things

“‘Sometimes people lose more than just socks, Sandy…You don’t remember all things and you don’t find all things. Those things end up here, like the touch and smell of someone, the memory of their exact face, and the sound of their voice…’ A thought suddenly occurred to me. ‘Have you ever heard your own laughter or cries?’ Helena nodded sadly. ‘Many times…’ 

She smiled. ‘Well, I had the great privilege of being loved by many people. The more people who love you, the more people you have out there to lose memories of you. Don’t make that face…It’s not as desperate as it sounds. People don’t intend to lose memories…It could be that the real sound of my laughter has been replaced by a new memory, or that, when a few months after I went missing my scent left my bedroom and my clothes, the scent they tried so hard to remember was altered. I’m sure the image I have of my own mother’s face is very different from how she actually looked but, forty years on and no reminder, how is my mind supposed to know, exactly? You can’t hold on to all things forever, no matter how hard you grip them…All the same,’ Helena looked up to the now bright sky with tears in her eyes, ‘you do sometimes feel like catching them and throwing them back to where they came from. Our memories are the only contact we have. We can hug, kiss, laugh, and cry with them over and over again in our minds. They’re very precious things to have.’

Chuckles, hisses, snorts, and giggles filtered through the air, floating by our ears on the wind, the light breeze carrying the faint scents like the forgotten smell of a childhood home; a kitchen after a day’s baking. There’s a mother’s forgotten smell of her baby, now grown up…There are older, musty smells of favorite grandparents…There are smells of lost lovers: sweet perfumes and aftershaves, the scent of sleepy morning lie-ins or simply the unexplainable individual scent left behind in a room. Personal smells as precious as the people themselves. All the aromas that had gone missing in people’s lives had ended up here.”
There’s No Place Like Here
by Cecelia Ahern


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