It hurt. That was honestly all she remembered. There was this sickening weight pressing down on her chest that seemed to suffocate her. It made her to literally gasp for breath – the air that she did not want anymore because she was already dead inside, damaged beyond repair. No amount of warmth could have healed those scars for they went on bleeding. There was a profound darkness swallowing her up completely until even she did not hear her own cries. It was so black she doubted if her eyes had been plucked out of their sockets. The world might very well have been daylight for all she knew. Other than the unbearable ache, the rest was a flurry of images that flashed on and off in her mind. They were memories, she knew, the very things that was causing her this pain. When she strained hard enough – until her head felt like it was on fire – she could sometimes make something out of those blurry images.
She was standing at the door of a small house near a blue pine wood. It was early in the morning because the sun was only just shining, colouring the serene blue sky with shades of peach. Maybe that was west. It could have been evening. With an inexplicable certainty, she somehow knew that she lived in the house and that this wood was uptown. Which town, she could not remember. She was smiling with a sparkle in her eyes – an excited anticipation glowing in those clear brown eyes. That girl now felt distant and unfamiliar. She was just an image inside her head that kept on playing over and over again.
Beaming, she stepped out in the open and walked on ahead until a blue mailbox. She pulled something out of it. It looked like a square box but it also looked like a deranged cylindrical wrapping. Even before the girl in the image opened the package, she knew what was inside. That was something she’d always known; she received a mail one day and found a piece of driftwood inside.
It was about fifteen inches long. It was smooth and sleek for the waves must have crashed upon it an infinite time, drifting it to the shore amongst thousand others. The thought that he had picked this particular piece of driftwood up with his own hands and sent it halfway across the globe to her was something that left her stunned and in an enormous awe. She absolutely loved the driftwood. She even made a necklace out of it. She sawed it into pieces, drilled holes in them and strung them around her neck on a silver chain.
She couldn’t wait to show him what she’d done to his precious little driftwood. He would be so impressed! When the war ended, a letter told her that he was finally returning home. Four days later, he arrived at her doorstep. But all she saw now in one muddled image was something that looked like a long rectangular box placed down at her feet. It could have been a deranged cylindrical wrapping for the pictures frizzled out always.