Memories tease me like a child playing hide and seek in the shadowy corners of my mind. When I look in the mirror, the lines on my face tell me I am old, and nothing more. My hands shake, my lips quiver, my reflection searches me in return. I am lost. I am afraid.
Some days I sit with strangers. Some days I sit with friends. But most days I sit alone with just your picture in my hand. I talk to you, I joke with you, I sing to you; trying to conjure you back to me. But of late, I have been forgetting our in-jokes, and your favourite songs. Some mornings, I wake up not remembering your name. Faint images of you swaying behind a thin veil, challenging me, taunting me. You are fading. I am afraid.
My memory is failing, and you are fading along with it. On a good day, I can recall everything about you, about us; every adventure we took, every duet we sang, every jigsaw puzzle we framed. On a bad day, I struggle to hold you in my memory. I am struggling. I am afraid.
Tonight I bask in the company of stars, connecting the bright dots, beseeching them to retell my stories. I remember the myth behind each constellation, but they tell no tale of mine. I say a prayer, and let the evening breeze carry it to the brightest star. I am praying. I am afraid.
The wind is cold, but I will stay a little longer. I see your face, but I can’t describe the colour of your eyes. Your laughter echoes in my head, but your voice eludes me. Maybe if I wait a while more, the missing pieces will fall into place, and you shall be whole again. I am patient. I am afraid.
I am fighting a battle I can’t win. Soon, I won’t remember you at all. You will be a stranger in a frame by my bed, watching me sleep and wake. Our names will be words engraved on a ring I don’t recall I bought. But before my decaying mind erases you forever, please know that even though I might not remember you one day, my love for you never forgets. So upon the brightest star, I surrender my all, please grant me mercy, and let me lay beside my love tonight. I am afraid. I am hopeful.
Malaysian-born Michelle Chan has tried her hand at journalism, and is now exploring the realm of fiction as an outlet for her overactive imagination. Her short stories have been published on Many Stories Matter, Flash Fiction Magazine, Every Day Fiction, Eastlit, and Eksentrika.
Illustration by Erin Taniguchi