One cupboard per day.
Everything comes out; everything is looked at, touched, remembered, then put back. The purpose— the original purpose—before it turned into a flood of memories— was to put the house on a diet.
The dusty LPs summon up an era, a person, a place, a moment in time, like a match struck in the darkness.
Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn recalled rainy, gray days, boarding school in England. The names of the schools still echo with dread, like phantasms from long ago.
Johnny Rivers en el Whisky a Go Go, the Turtles, the single ‘Popcorn’ — all speak of Spain: S’Agaro. The Cliffside villa where we summered. The ‘Palladium’— the nightclub from which my parents would arrive at dawn. The limestone of the ‘Ensesa’ pool; the overlook, the thick forest, and ‘La Conca’, the beach with the hundred stone steps.
That famous song ‘I Can’t Go For That’ summoned up Fiona —Fiona. Marble-white skin, high cheekbones, piercing blue eyes, perfectly straight blonde hair — my first love.
We captured each other, passed through school, through my gap year. Then we died. We rose again, unexpectedly, when my eye caught that familiar, curling script in a guest book in a church somewhere in London.
The doorstop to the magic room. The room streamed with a miraculous light that lit the air like a benediction. The silk curtains sang when the wind caught them, carried them aloft, and made them billow through the air like the sails of some imaginary ship, ready to carry me off to some imaginary land.
The floor, a blond ocean of parquet, broke into magical crackling at the slightest footfall. How I waited for legions of green goblins to issue from the dark crack in the wall and how I wept when they didn't, feeling anguish long before my years. That room seemed to hold the world entire.
The dust-cloth splits apart on some forgotten bauble. Should I throw it away? Or might it expand into some cherished vision of the past. Each thing had a little soul that brought back the past and made it live again.
I put the little souls back to sleep behind the heavy door. Only the bauble remained untouched, waiting for another chance to live.
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