A World of Memory

I walked down the uncannily familiar street, a street I thought I knew well, and at once saw it as thousands of others remembered it. The colours were the most striking, for they never remained still. From the buildings flanking this stretch of road to the cars parked on the sides of the street, colours faded and warped before my eyes. It was like an artist perpetually unsatisfied with his work, repainting a canvas over and over, layer after layer, unable to put down the paintbrush and declare his work finished.

It was inconsistent memories that made things change so–I could never remember if this building beside me had red bricks or yellow tiles, so it changed from one to the other. It seemed as though everyone else’s memories were just as hazy, for all along the road were buildings growing and shrinking and changing such that they looked like waves flowing along a valley.

Looking up, I saw the sky clear and blue one moment, scorched with storm clouds the next, then black and dotted with rapidly blinking stars, like God was reprogramming his clock on the seventh day, when he was too tired to think. The sun and the stars and the moon swept across the sky carelessly, absent order. For the first time in my life I saw the sun stark and blinding in the night sky, and the constellations barely visible beyond the midday blue like needlepoint holes piercing the atmosphere. I saw raindrops fall alongside snowflakes absent clouds. I saw arching rainbows and rolling mists that were there and not there.

This was a place devoid of human life, for it existed in memory, and I was the only soul capable of traversing it. And yet, despite my solitude, I could hear the lingering echoes of tires crunching on gravel, of fading laughter, of distant sirens. I knew this street as a bustling avenue of knick-knack shops and bookstores and cafes, and from the sights and the sounds this place chose to present, the world had a million ideas of what it should look like–or sound like or smell like–and it couldn’t decide on just one.

I listened to the crowds marching around me, their heels clicking on the pavement or crunching on snow, for there were memories of every season, all at once. And if I listened closely, I could hear snippets of conversation, a walla of half-remembered thoughts, talking of nothing in particular to no one special. They were the voices of the living, floating bodiless in the air, and I felt haunted by their presence.

I could smell car exhaust, fresh-baked cupcakes, and that pleasant, dusty scent of dry earth during a rain. Each whiff of air brought forth memories of Christmas shopping, of bar hopping, of first dates and misty nights. I was here. I was then. I am now.

 

 


 

 

Day 224’s three random writing prompt categories were, “The Worldmind,” “Memory lane,” and, “Everything, all at once.”

Such a surreal world, this Worldmind place. But beautiful to think about.

– H.

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