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Forgotten to be Remembered

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I had no idea my wife put this together. Unwarranted guilt trickled everywhere after finding the John Ruskin cigar box in her closet. Memories forgotten to be remembered were scattered all around the wooden crate. The first thing that caught my eye was the faded red of the dynamite stick and the extra wicks laying on top of the momentos. They were from our first fourth of July with our only child, Courtney Ray. That was back in ‘73, when I still had them on Earth. I shook my head and skipped to the picture resting underneath the expired firework. Black-and-white, just like the skunk hiding under the house, Courtney Ray was sitting on a bench while she clutched her first pup, Gemma. The starry background was was shaped like a heart, but the spotlight was on my baby girl and Gemma. That was their second month together, and I lost Gemma last year. She was the only thing I had left of COurt and her mama, Betty Claire.
The car wreck was the thing that broke me. My girls only lived a few hours after the impact, barely long enough for the ambulance to get there. I forced the dreary thought from my head after finding some yellowed, folded up notes blending in like butterflies. I recognized Betty Claire’s swirly, girly handwriting and realized they were from high school. We wrote them right before I asked her to prom, right before I proposed. She didn’t even say yes until years later.
A rusty-looking thing creeped into sight. It was a hook with a feather tied to it and a red-and-white bobber sitting still in the corner. My baby girl caught her first Big Mouth Bass with them. It was the first time she went to Standing Rock creek. Tasting the spring-fed creek, she looked up through dripping curls and smiling like a fool. The parcel of treasures started to shake, so I set it down and walked to the kitchen. My legs were quaking even worse than my hands as I fumbled around for my pills. My cholesterol was on the fritz then. WHen I reached my pills I glanced at the calendar. It would’ve been our 50th anniversary, and Courtney Ray’s 39th birthday. I remember wishing it wasn’t 2012. I remember my legs dropping my body on the floor. After all of that, I watched everything from above. Even though no one will find my wrinkled, rank body in our cabin in Kentucky, I’m glad I get to stay with the box of memories forgotten to be remembered.




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