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Artifacts

Friday May 18th 2012

by Paul Armstrong
 

 

After we leave this world there remains only our artifacts. The dusty items that filled our lives, now in boxes and shelves. Scratched on paper and wood, the finger print of us. Tucked away and forgotten waiting for someone else to discover and evaluate.

 

A tattered box from a pair of dress shoes I don't recall sits under a pile of old bed sheets. There's a rotted rubber band clinging tiredly around it's corners. Inside are letters and cards, notes from a man to his wife. A story that will never grace the pages of history, or novel, or learning. A story that weathers into the grain of ancestory. My story. That box will collect dust and grim, the rubber bands will crumble with time. The delicate envelopes; imbued with oils of skin and ink will fade. Underneath them are relics — a small plastic heart, some ticket stubs, a gumball machine toy and a small knife engraved with the initials "JPA" — that will be forgotten. The stories attached to them will wither or vanish, absorbed in time.

 

At one time they were important. At one time they had meaning. But eventually they'll be moved to a basement. To another house. When my mind doesn't work the kids will look at all my old things — they'll recall their own stories to those relics that were attached to their memory. Some things they'll keep. Some things, like those letters, might go to the trash. They'll become artifacts, and my story will be worn into the grain of my children.

 

All the artifacts of my life accumulate to tell my story; but what will my artifacts say?

 

 

 

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