My Grandfather's Treasure Chest

February 22, 2012
He closed his eyes and began to snore almost immediately. The grey hairs, like branches in a breeze, vibrated in his nostrils. Some distance up the tube was his brain, his soul. It is hard to see it clearly though, like a planet with no sun but with the glow of a million moons. A mind in darkness. Shadows lurked here – Long silver bodies with dusty faces and no names. There were a few dogs too; nipping at the shadow threads. There were houses; warm and cold. Some were in darkness and others had a buttery light inside. In the latter type of homesteads he sometimes heard voices.
Crisp, sweet voices that melted in that buttery light. Voices, but no owner of those voices did he recognize. Passing out the shadow people, the shadow dogs, the houses and the voices we close in on the back left corner of his mind.
There it is.
In all it’s glory; covered in shiny cobwebs and dusty grey matter lay a rock avoided by any artery, bypassed by all neurons, cut off from his soul;
My Grandfathers Treasure Chest.

As sleep blankets him more, his blood floats back in his head as it tilts from side to side on his blue pillow case. It appears grey in the light, making his head seem perfectly sunken into it’s old feathers. The treasure chest comes to life, glimmers now. With each snore the chest is rattled, blood waves back in its ease, neurons light up in a midnight blue hue. They electrocute the chest and the lid clicks open…

Nineteen twenty-eight. The countryside. Home.
My Grandfathers golden hair curls into his face – a face too pretty for a five-year-old boy. His dark eyes squint in the summer light, showcasing his long eyelashes on his baby-soft cheeks. His lips are pouted and he is about to cry. Mama and Papa are crying too looking at James’ body in that white box. He doesn’t understand why James isn’t moving, why James hasn’t been moving for days. They were playing in the river trying to catch tadpoles just a few days ago…

Sunlight scratched my grandfathers wrinkle-etched face, his wiry silver hairs caught in the morning rays. He blinked at the day ahead, the treasure chest shut tight, and that familiar feeling of confusion filled his mind once more…

Time unknowingly and unaccountably passed for him. His stomach ached but he didn’t know why. The moon was rising, taking his seat to watch over the land. His head on the blue pillowcase, he wrung his arthritic fingers rhythmically over and back the bed sheets. Tears formed at the corners of his eyes. Looking close enough, you would see how they glistened as they did seventy decades ago. The confusion was overwhelming, a drowning wave of unknown.

Like a broken record player his thoughts skip and jam. He is a man with no history and no voice. The treasure chest opens at night, his memories dance, undead. I know this because I know my grandfather has stories, memories, a history. It’s my history too, stolen from me, locked in that dusty golden treasure chest…

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