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Lola Rennt

Annabel Lee

And this maiden she lived with no other thought than to love and be loved by me

Expiration
Lola Rennt
annabelleec
Are you afraid of running out of time? Being poisoned by emotions past their date of expiration? Being relegated to the past tense, to the vault where all dusty memories are kept, where names are spoken in hushed tones and details are blurred by the panacea of time and space?

Somehow I feel like some memories are bigger than the shoe boxes they are confined to, exiled to the back of the closet, doomed to live out their days socializing with dust bunnies, and shoes that have fallen out of grace. They escape their cardboard bondage, despite the double layer of Scotch tape meant to keep their substantiation safely shut away, and parade around insolently. They appear unexpectedly, triggered by nothing more than a familiar gust of wind or a swirl of dust in a ray of sunshine, and stay on stubbornly, brazen in their claim on one’s heart.

Having taken a page out of Pandora’s own memoirs, I unleash these monsters from their shoe box, tormenting, however, none other than my own self. I spend my nights in the refuge of small print on smooth paper that feels almost like your fingertips once did on my skin. I rewind the scenes revived in my memory and contemplate all the alternate endings, wondering if the evils Pandora was accused of releasing did not haunt her most of anyone. Maybe, deceitful and crafty as she was, she was also lonely, riddled by guilt, and misunderstood…

However, unlike Pandora’s box, mine contains nothing else but ghosts, hope having leaked out with time through the folds of the cardboard. So I spend my nights in the sensuous embrace of the past: memories pliant to the warm touch of my inflamed imagination. I examine the big words made with small letters of your unsteady hand, their warped meaning becoming even more so as the letters bloom under salty tears. I spend my nights analyzing forensic evidence, studying the sopping charred remains of the fire that once burned.

Were you afraid of becoming someone in the past tense? Is that why, like a caveman immortalizing himself in crude stick figures on the walls of his shelter, you inflicted yourself on me, your documentation of our fleeting bliss a crude cave painting made with the blood of martyred innocence?  

This past tense of ours is all that is left of that pronoun now: the dreams that didn’t come through, the opportunities that slipped right out of our hands, the apologies that stuck in our throats as we choked on our righteous sense of pride. The scars that I still prod at, embracing the phantom pain, eager to feel anything at all, however unreal.

Words should come with expiration dates, love letters bearing a “best before” date and a list of possible side effects if opened after expiry.