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A Bouquet of Lost Memories


Rusty Broadspear

She shakily held a forty year old snapshot of her twentieth birthday.

Under a sunny sky she was alone, facing the camera,
laughing and leaning back
on to the parapet of an ancient bridge in Somerset.
Her arms were outstretched, as if to say
"I'm here, I've arrived!"

Except, she wasn't alone.
The pose and laughter was not for the sake of nostalgia
some forty years on,
it was a sign of complete acceptance and undeniable love
for the photographer, who was also her fiancÚ.

Many snapshots were taken that day but this one,
by all accounts, was a lone survivor.
Her dark, laquered
hair was in the style of the day,
with 'kiss curls,'
her skimpy top matched her knee length boots  in vivid yellow
and her red mini skirt
was only a shade longer than the belt
that held it snugly to her hips.
Her lips shone with the colour of her skirt
and she carried a matching shoulder bag.

A Dolly Bird.

In the distance, smoke lazily trailed upward into the blue
from a commercial complex
and if one looked very closely,
there was a brightly painted barge
snailing a course around a distant river bend.

So, on this day, there was sunshine within and sunshine without.
The sort of picture that forces any heart to skip a beat,
when studied with a searching eye.
A casual glance, then it is a casual snap, anonymous,
uninteresting, dull, tedious and thrown limply
into humankind's celluloid waste basket.

Her thumb bore signs of years past
but the nail was neatly manicured.
A tear spattered the nail and
minuscule droplets sprayed a 'hold on time.'
A recollection that was presently lost to her,
a memory that will shortly return
and then will revisit no longer.

A snapshot. A photo. Commonplace, people detritus.

Gold of the purest kind.

She knew not to discard but she knew not why.

The diagnosis was softly and tenderly whispered as
'early stages of Alzheimer's.'

The photograph butterflied gently and with grace
into the open fire as she plucked another one from the
battered shoe box.

The very air she breathed, cried with manifest sadness.

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