Small Fiction: Memory Palace

Photograph of a wealthy abandoned house with broken chair in the foreground, for Memory Palace by Malin James

From Matthias Haker’s Decay series

She looked at the dripping world, dripping water, dripping skies, from clouds to green grass, against the glass and under cars into places she couldn’t see, places filled to the brim with emptiness.

His shoes were empty. And the left side of the bed and the Apple mug from the eighties and his particle physics cup – bought for nostalgic purposes. Not nostalgia. Nostalgic purposes. Because that’s the way he talked.

He liked things that had a purpose, mugs and books, purposeful things like that. Things that held memories but also did something – something more than gather dust like his mother’s porcelain squirrels.

The house full of those things now—mugs, not porcelain squirrels. The squirrels went to a charity shop, along with the decorative geese. But mugs…she had mugs. And empty shoes and half-finished books and the cord to his first cell phone. His beer was in the fridge. His tea was in the sink. She left it as it was to keep his prints on the mug.

She lived in a memory palace – a shrine to their Before. Memories dirtied dishes. They warped the floor and filled her gut. Her cells, her tissue, her teeth and bones were stony with Before. Before is what she was. Because After was in a meadow off a long winding road, under wild green grass and rain.

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