“They say moments are often lost in time. That words exchanged with love are often forgotten over time. But that memories of those one-off instances remain embedded somewhere in our minds, recollected time and again. They say these memories are triggered by smells that we relate to the person or the time we shared a moment with them. But like memories, our sense of smell betrays us in the winter of our lives. Perhaps, that is why we hang on to the memories of loved ones and the moments shared with them. Because we are afraid we will lose them, lest we forget.”
That was one of the last entries in her journal, dating months before her husband’s demise. She had always been fond of preserving memories, tokens of those moments of love and passion. Her diary was thick with letters and photographs, postcards and withered flowers placed so delicately between pages they seemed almost invisible. He had often called it ridiculous, her insistence on taking pictures and writing letters to each other, but he obliged anyway. Because it made her happy and her smile warmed his heart even at the darkest of times.
In her journal full of memories, a single photograph stood out from the rest. Faded with time, and wrinkled under the constant human touch, it had meant the world to her. She often took it out when he was gone for the weekend, staring at it for hours at end. She loved the silly smiles they wore, holding hands and gazing at each other as a blushing sun sank in the far horizon. She remembered it like it was only yesterday. She had been at the beach going about her business when he snuck up on her. Naturally, she had been startled. But he had taken her hands in his and smiled at her. A comforting smile that reassured her that all was well.
Oh, how she missed that smile. Whenever he left on business, she had always counted heartbeats till his return. Now she counted heartbeats till they met again, in death. Time and again she flipped through the pages of her journal until her fingertips came to rest upon that photograph. A moment captured by luck, thank God for the paparazzi in the form of their friends. Years of contact had washed away its colors, but the memory burned fresh in her mind. As did the letters on the back of the photograph. “Be soon to follow me, dearest. My winter has come upon me.”
She knew every time she read it, that time was near. Any minute now, she could let go and be with him. But until then, she vowed to remember him, their love, and that picture-perfect memory. So for fear of forgetting, she wrote every moment she recalled. Until one day she wrote no more, ending her journal as thus.
“I remember when our fingers first touched. I remember your smile and how my heart raced. I remember our love, how it put me at peace. I remember us when all else evades my mind. And I’ll continue to remember, even when I’m gone to you. It won’t be long now, darling. My winter has come upon me.”