Memories of the Past

This was writen as part of @SensualStories wonderful Journaling Game Twitter project, which I credit with kick-starting my fiction writing after a 25 year hiatus. She solicits phrases on Twitter, and then encourages people to spend a few minutes writing a short piece that uses one of the phrases; it doesn't have to be the one you submitted, nor do you have to have submitted one. It's a nice way to get your creative mind going, and to get feedback on your writing. I highly encourage trying it out.

The phrase I submitted and used was “The past exists only in your mind.” (from Hardcore Zen, by Brad Warner). You can find my original post on her site here.

As an added bonus (?), you can hear me read this piece on

They say the past exists only in your mind. I’d never really given it thought, save as a way to describe the vagaries of memory, but that was before she walked through the cafe door. She was trailing sunlight in her hair, and her stride was confident and long, but it was her smile that caught my eye; an enigmatic half-moon that flowed across the room, gathering strength from each person who saw it. With that smile came a flood of memories from a time I had never known.

We stood at a spring, the shallow surface of the pool still laced with late winter ice, water flowing from the wooden channel, washing down the frozen column it created. She broke off a piece and sucked it, smiling mischievously at me.

We were sitting on the banks of a stream, bare feet trailing in the cool water. Sunlight dappled the rocky bed, shifting and flowing as the surface changed, and the green leaves rustled in the breeze.

We were running through the woods. She was laughing, a sound that filled the hills as naturally as the singing of a warbler, the cry of a hawk on the hunt. I chased after as she fled through a cloud of falling leaves.

We lay facing the fireplace, I read to her as she wrapped her hands around a mug and sipped her cocoa, staring intently into the flames. The steady fall of rain and sleet on the roof provided my chorus. The crackling fire punctuated my sentences.

We walked through the snowfall, the world silenced and obscured by the muffled sound of each snowflake reaching the blanketed ground. I stopped. She continued. Faded ghostlike into the distance.

I sat again in the cafe, and for a moment I closed my eyes, overwhelmed by the flood of memories I had never known. When I opened them, she was turning away; a slight frown on her face, disappointment in her eyes. Something lost that she hadn’t found. Something sought, that she’d never seen. Before I could move, she faded into the crowd on the street; just another face carrying the cares of the day.

They say the past exists only in your mind, and for that moment it did. But whose past was it?