I live in a little messy room. It isn't much but it is my only sanctum, my blueprint to life, and cleaning it never made much sense to me. But given that I still share a roof with my parents, my sensibilities can never stand ground for a long stretch. So finally, after much rummaging and almost violent-encouraging from my mother, I had to take up the impious task this morning. Starting with the nastiest of shelves, I sneezed my way through motes of dust, aggressively expressing their disapproval at being dislodged, and reached the end quickly. At the long corner, nestled safely behind my forgotten set of Thomas Harris novels, was a tiny bottle of Hajmola. Not the new-purple ones, no, this was the classic yellow-orange bottle, with all kinds of happy people gleaming right at you. Hastily scooping it up, I creaked open the lid to smell at it: sour and stingy, the pills had gone damp, much like all that I recalled about the bottle.
I casually tossed it in the waste basket. But heedless to my ice-cool attitude, my mind had seen enough. The little bottle transported me to the time when I wasn’t always cynical, always grumpy and always single. She used bring me Hajmolas whenever she visited. I guess she loved them as much as I did, or maybe she loved them as much because I did. I forget now. It’s always intriguing how memories have strings attached to things which are too insignificant to be noticed at the time. And looking back you can always see how it is only the insignificant things that add sparkle and exhibit people in their true lights, make them memorable— broad tropes are just standard templates; you’ve always got your pretty, smart, kind, caring, sweet, but it's the little things that speak for who they are. Like how they'd never put on red ribbons, or how they said satin made their fingertips tingle, or in this case, I remember how her breath was after lunch, hot against my skin and faintly laced with the smell of Hajmolas. But perhaps, I have always embellished this memory in my mind, I can't be sure, and in this uncertainty I realised that she was just a phantasm now, doomed to live forever in the precipices of my mind, in its shadows, only seeing day when I moved things around, unsettled the dust, shone a light onto the pieces, much like my orange-yellow bottle.
I haven’t gotten around to clearing and folding up the rest of my room yet. All day long I have just frantically looked about hoping to find some crumpled up letter, or some yellow-cornered fading- photograph tucked away in forgotten story-books. I couldn't find anything. And from the last few hours, I have just given up. Lighting cigarette after cigarette, and staring intently into the darkest wall, I am trying to remember what she looked like exactly. Surprisingly, I can’t, not in any intimate way. Sure, if I had to describe her I would say she had jet black hair, black eyes, pale skin, or at least pale by the moonlight and a full mouth-grin. But I couldn't tell you how she crinkled her nose when she smelled something bad, or which hand she used to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear...all that is wreckage, lost forever in the seas of remembrance. That little bottle was all she had left me— rotten Hajmolas and putrid memories. In all fairness the only near perfect memory I still cherish is the wet imprint of her lips on my forehead the day she decided to banish me into the ghosts of her life, just as I have gradually exiled her to mine.