“For this exercise, I want you to recall a memory you have of a flower. It could be anything; the smallest, most seemingly insignificant fragment.”
Everyone in the room shifts in their seats. No one wants to be here. Well, a few, but the majority would have traded a kidney just to get out of yet another ‘exercise’.
“Then, I want you to write it down. Or don’t.” Our teacher smiles as if sharing an inside joke. “That’s alright as well. But if you can, please”, she makes a gesture to include everyone, “share it with the class. Memories can show to be very relatable, even the strangest ones.”
The room goes even quieter than before, as if waiting for further instructions. She says nothing more, but her eyes observe each and everyone to make sure we take this seriously. With a low, unified sigh, people start to stare unseeingly up at the ceiling or to the walls, ignoring the present to embrace or at least glimpse into a past that not long ago meant a common, open wound that no one wishes to approach.
I do the same, needlessly, since I already see that memory clear as day. It rolls towards me, like a soft wave.
It felt strange taking those last steps of the stairs. I had been there before, many times. But that was in a different life, or so it seemed now. Their azaleas were now placed outside, awaiting fall to bloom. The last time I saw the 2 pink flowers, frost had covered the patio furniture and I hurriedly said goodbye, already deciding what to watch next time. This was a familiar sight, as if nothing had changed, yet, everything had.
The world was now recuperating from a wordless, faceless, change to the core. Values, hopes, dreams, fears, principles had been challenged, questioned. A drastic overturn, reality suspended, leaving confusion and lost minds in its tracks.
And then I rang the bell, ready to hug my sister again.
“Alright”, our teacher’s voice cuts through the blank silence, “who wants to start?”
Hesitantly, I raise my hand.