Monday, October 3, 2016

Flash Fiction: Shrine


I looked at the newest addition to my shrine. A fragment from a broken china cup. I should have thrown it away the moment I had found it in an obscure corner of the cupboard. I wouldn’t have remembered it had I not put it inside a clear plastic. Such a tiny piece! I don’t remember when I had stored it for posterity. But I had. That in itself goes not to show the hold someone’s absence has on you!
Every tiny thing is a chapter to be recalled or an episode to relive. Your relationship may have died years ago but its ghost lives on. It lingers and haunts. Especially if you have rebuilt your heart in the likeness of an altar for that lost love. Though the two of you were never meant to have a future together, the ghosts of those memories reproduced and spawned babies for you to nurture. Now every time you come across something, those babies gnaw at your soul leaving tiny claw-marks that bleed and drive you to the precipice of depression. There’s no moving on. Just tagging along.
You’re tempted to throw every thread, every scrap of paper you’ve collected over the years that had somehow been a part of those glory days. You don’t. You can’t. You have to live with these memories that have only multiplied with time. You eat, you sleep, you drink — in short, be normal on the outside. It’s only when you’re alone that your eyes rove over the altar with a vacant expression. You can’t just dispossess yourself of all that makes you, you. You want to scream and let go. It isn’t easy. It never is. You know it only too well. Those you say otherwise, know it too, but do not want to acknowledge the truth. For truths are cruel. Lies can be handled. Those can be manufactured at will and produced for dramatic results.

Everybody uses these lies to get over things and live. You do too. But the biggest of all the lies that you’ve been telling yourself is that you want to get rid of the shrine. That you no longer need the weight of the holy altar upon yourself. Because when you dispose yourself off these fragments, you’ll no longer be you. You’ll be lost and adrift. These are your anchor. These hold you to the monotony that people call life. So you bear your cross with a martyr’s outlook. Only you know the truth that this your holy grail — these half forgotten but part salvaged memories.   

© Jonali Karmakar    

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