Notes From The Place Of Forgetting1
You look around, searching for clues as to why you are here. Something, anything that tells you how you ended up in this place.
The room has nothing to offer. No detail to grab onto.
It is generic, featureless; worn down into bland submission by an endless stream of faceless travelers, each with their own story, none of them worth reading.
You do not belong here.
You walk to the door. It is locked from outside.
You reach for the cord to open the curtains, only to find that they conceal not a window but a wall hung with a single painting. A cheap print, yellowed with nicotine and age, curling away from the frame at the edges. A beach scene; wooden raft drifting away from shore.
You feel the breeze rustle your hair, water lapping at the edge of the raft. The lake is calm, a sheet of rippled glass covered with sunset and floating leaves.
You step off the raft onto beige carpet. Sodden, your footprints fill with murky liquid as you walk across the hotel room floor. On the cigarette scarred nightstand you find a note written on a grease-stained paper bag. You don’t recognize the handwriting, but you know it is a message to yourself. It says “Remember who you are.”
You see a suitcase on the bed, open, filled with photographs. You flip through them, uninterested. Faces of people you don’t know, doing things you do not care to know about.
You push them aside and look back to the painting.
You peel back the corner. The paper, stamped to look like canvas, lifts away in a single sheet to reveal another painting, a cityscape at night. Specks of red and yellow and green reflected in puddled sidewalks and oil slick streets. A fistful of scattered gems against rain smeared ink.
You shiver. Wiping a strand of wet hair off your forehead, you clutch your arms and step into the crosswalk. You wander cold empty streets until your bones turn to ice.
You check into a cheap motel. Bed, nightstand, sticky beige carpet. Nothing on the walls but a dingy yellow rectangle where a painting once hung, framed by even dirtier yellow.
You sit on the bed to examine the blank space. Decades pass.
Suddenly the yellow turns transparent and through the void you see something you’ve never seen before. A piece of yourself that you had hidden long ago. You reach in and grab it.
This time you are not coming back.