The rain was drumming on the windows when I decided it was time. I kicked aside the bed sheets, noting the soft caress of the fabric as it stroked my legs. Comforting. I wanted to stay curled into the enclosure of it. I looked to my right. The room was a dark shade of grey, the type you find when looking at clouds foreshadowing an endless storm. I blinked. My eyes painfully opened and closed, protesting with each movement. I adjusted to the scene before me. I listened to the disrupted ambience of the night; owls hooted here and then, the strong winter gushed past the window while the rain thrashed branches against the house. I then directed my attention to the room. The wardrobe stood majestically at the end of the bed, hugging the wall. The doorway was open and that unnerved me. What was I to know about the creatures that lurk in the darkness? I closed by eyes again, allowing a wave of serenity to drown me. The shallow breathing of a figure brought warmth to my restless mind. I breathed in deeply, aware of the dying aroma of his cologne. I gulped. Not now.
I made sure he was asleep before I crept from the room and silently made my way down the corridor. I ran my hands along the plaster walls, tracing the outlines of picture frames. I paused suddenly, and stopped to peer into a small room to my left. A sliver of light cut through the room. From it came the shape of a cot, reflected in the light. Soft breathing echoed around the room. Asleep. Safe, I thought.
I continued on my way. When I reached the end of the corridor, which took no less than 10 paces, I came to a closed, wooden door. The word 'Study' was embossed on a gold plaque. My hand curled around the brass door knob. I pulled away quickly, afraid of the sharp pang of cold that struck my skin. I reached again, this time ready to face the bite. I turned it carefully. When the click came I slid into the room, leaving the door barely ajar.
I was careful not to collide instantly with the stacks of paperwork that met me. The desk sat at the back of the room, staring on with suspicion. I avoided it's glance. I padded over to a shelf of books and held out my hands, feeling the spines tense under my touch. One by one I slid them out. 1, 2, 3, 4 they fell into my hands. By the time I pulled out 3 more, I was already stroking the back of the shelf, searching for the cracks in the wood. I slid my forefinger under a deep notch in the wood. It budged, but only slightly. I found the notch opposite from the other and together both hands worked at releasing the hold I was struggling to loosen. With a desperate tug it came off and a plume of smoke sifted into the air. I suppressed the urge to cough.
Although it was too dark to see what was in the in the wall I knew it was something important. I dragged out a perfectly square, cardboard box, as heavy as an encyclopaedia. I walked with it to the desk, always aware of it's sneering gaze, one that said you don't fool me. The small desk light was switched on and I pulled in a chair, staring at the box now sat on the desk. A piece of tape was stuck to the middle, the word MEMORIES sketched messily into it.
I breathed out slowly, closing my eyes before lifting the lid. It was just as I remembered. Thing is, I didn't remember it, until now. Through layers and layers of pictures were CDs, gifts, letters and tickets piled into the small box. That's when it hit me. Attached to the underside of the lid was a note. October 2014, it dated. 20 years ago.
Hi! :D It's Nina! So this is a note for future me, it seems so stupid writing this, it's like i'm going to die aha oh god not like I want that to happen...ahhh i'm digressing. ANYWAY, i'm writing this because I wanted to have a reminder for the future me to think about when they look back at this box of some of the most important things in my life- not like this stuff can hardly be forgotten! :O I hope that even on the saddest days of your life you'll come back to this stuff and be able to get lost in the love I feel for these people. They've always been an inspiration to me and I hope they continue to be an inspiration for the rest of my life! Ah crap, I haven't done my essay...shit...I promise i'll continue writing this tomorrow so...
That's all it said. I gulped loudly. I don't remember writing this. Who was I talking about?
I directed my attention to the contents of the box instead of pondering. Several CDs, were balanced precariously on the side and I took these first. 5 Seconds of Summer. I recognised that name. I lifted up each CD, skimming over the names of songs for a sign of recognition. I felt close to remembering. But it felt like a painful wall was blocking my way to the memory. I pulled out more items, make-shift concert tickets, screwed up posters, merchandise, print-outs of old Tumblr posts and diaries full stories that were interjected by excessive amounts of exclamation marks and emojis. Tears welled in my eyes as I flicked through each piece of evidence pointing me to a clear conclusion, I just couldn't figure it out. Like listening to an emotional track, I felt overcome by emotion. It wasn't long until the first tear fell, crippling the edge of the diary page I was reading. Why couldn't I just figure it out!
In frustration I pushed away the box and hit the small silver switch on the corner of the desk. A panel of light burst onto the surface. I logged into my account and went to scan one of the CDs into the desktop device. I stopped mid-process when I noticed a page already open on my tool bar. When I clicked it a video popped up. I hit play.
At first it was black and there was no noise. Then a deep voice cut through.
"I'm hoping one day you find this and remember everything that was once important to you. I know you think your life has been basic, and that you've lived as if part of a 'normal' story."
A series of images flashed before me. Mostly pictures of my family and my husband, our child. Everything was played out as I knew it to be. So why did I need to be informed of it?
"But that just wasn't the case"
Suddenly everything changed. I saw videos of myself screaming with excitement. I looked so happy. Pictures of the CDs featured. Concert footage played also. There was something about that band. Then the footage was interrupted by my wedding footage, the same. This time news articles were cut into it. Montage editing spoke of speculations about death, about manslaughter, trials and someone in a coma. I continued watching, waiting to find out what the story was. It appeared someone nearly died when she was on holiday with her family. Someone pushed her off a cliff. She survived, but she lost her memory in the process.
I didn't understand why the news was significant to me. More footage played, some videos showed exciting concerts and others cast light on morbid news.
Like the flick of a switch the memory clicked. I re-doubled, screaming. With such force and vivacity I clutched at my stomach as I rolled on the floor. I tried to look up to the desk which could only stare back with a look that said, I told you so. Like a kick in the stomach, the memories flooded back. Concerts, fangirling, crying over Tumblr, laughing at Twitcams, obsessing over the perfection of these four guys, these four guys...5 SECONDS OF SUMMER! I wanted to laugh, but I hardly could. I only screamed harder. I remembered the endless hours spent watching videos, the deep sadness when I realised I was never going to be special to them, the friendships made, the pride to be a fan.
The wails of a child rang through the house. It was a battle for who was loudest as hers rose to meet mine. I was barely aware of the figure that rushed into the room, running to my side. He wrapped his arms around me rocking me back and forth.
He lifted me up, back into the seat. I felt weak and I could barely hold myself up. His eyes darted between each of mine. Only when he flicked his eyes to the video still playing that he stiffened. My head was bowed. He pushed a strand of hair away from my face.
"Nina?" The tone was inquisitive, nervous and slightly hopeful.
His voice hitched.
"I know" My body deflated and I felt myself fall forwards yet again. Strong arms caught me just in time. "I know" I repeated.