Not too far from where I live, there’s a long path of forget-me-nots. The dazzling little flowers, blue as the sky, bloomed incessantly and danced shyly with every blow of the wind. My eyes could only follow the path which ends at the foot of a huge tree atop the little hill because I’ve always been warned about straying too far from home. For generations, they say, that magnificent path contrary to its exuberant beauty, held countless tales of terror. They say that anyone who got charmed and followed the path to its end was never seen again.
Some say that it’s just a tale to scare the little children from wandering off, but my neighbor, an old granny said that she lost her husband from whatever unknown thing that lay beyond the path. He set off and challenged the rumored hill and never came back.
No one really knows what’s there, we could all just make ridiculous guesses, but it does make people curious… though not foolish enough to try and find out for themselves, like the old husband did. Time passed and the stories about the missing people gained different versions, but it all still came to one direct point: that in our quiet and peaceful village dwells a mysterious and fearsome force disguised as an innocent lovely path of forget-me-nots.
It hasn’t been a year since I moved into this place and I’ve just recently heard about a certain festival they hold when everyone receives gifts by their doorstep. Maybe it’s sort of like Christmas but in a different month. Everyone would go to bed early and wake up to receive their presents before dawn of the next day.
“What if I can’t sleep, Granny?”
“You have to, or you’ll scare Santa away.” Granny let out a snorting laugh. Maybe she felt like she was speaking to a six-year old girl. I just laughed with her, because of my ignorance and confusion I did feel like one.
It wasn’t hard to adjust to the life in this village. We all live close to each other so it was easy to be friends with everyone. It’s very peaceful and everyone so far had been really nice to me. But somehow, this yearly tradition they have is---
Anyway, as I thought, on the night of the festival, I found myself unable to sleep even though they told me I should. I’m really curious about this “Secret Santa” and whatever present would be left on my doorstep. Before I knew it, I was out of bed. I walked towards the door and took a step outside. It was quiet. Only the stars in the sky and the big bright moon gave light. Everyone else was asleep just like what the tradition called for. Perhaps, everyone else was really looking forward to that special present.
From a short distance I saw the path of forget-me-nots. Under the shining brightness of the moon, they glimmered and looked lovelier than ever before. I found myself just staring and walking slowly towards the inviting magnificence, like I was being hypnotized to go over and touch them. A cool gust of wind blew and they shook their leaves and swayed their tiny blue heads, towards the direction of the hill. My eyes just followed where they pointed and there I saw tiny bits of light coming from the huge tree. The trunk illuminated hundreds of crystal-like glow, though not as bright as the moon, but lively flickered like the stars in the sky.
Everything felt like a dream. The tiny orbs of light that danced around the tree, the tiny flowers wooing me to follow the path their pointing at and the way my own feet moved towards the hill…
As I took every step closer to the end of the path, the lights became brighter, and the words that I thought I was just chanting in my head became audible as if coming from someone else, whispering in my ear.
“Forget-me-not… forget-me-not… forget-me-not…”
Who is it?
Who did I forget?
What did I forget?
As I stepped on the foot of the hill, the trail of flowers also ended, but the voice that whispered like a plea grew louder, ringing in my ears as if accusing me.
The climb up the hill wasn’t difficult, where the path of flowers ended, rocks shaped to serve as steps took its place. As I drew nearer to the top, my head throbbed after forcing myself to remember what I might have forgotten. My chest felt heavy, as if I’ve betrayed a very important memory.
Before I came to this place I recall having a long journey through a boat. It was a long exhausting trip that I was just so relieved to finally step on land. I just felt at that moment that I was finally home. Now that I think about it, where did I come from? I have no recollection of how my life was before I came here, and even that boat ride had begun to become vague.
The voice became louder with every step. Just a little more and I’d find out…
As I stood in front of the tree, I realized that the orbs of light that I had mistaken for crystals a while ago were actually peep holes. Hundreds of them punched on the tree-trunk leading somewhere where there is light. Without thinking, I leaned on the tree and peeped in one of the holes. What I saw there is a mirror image of our village, but unlike the one I just walked from, there were a lot of people whom I don’t know placing flowers and photos on each of my neighbor’s doorsteps. The light that shone from within it was actually candlelights which shimmered like thousands of fireflies all over the image of our town.
I searched for my own home and there I saw a man with a basket of flowers on his feet.
My heart raced until it hurt when I recalled the important memory that I’d forgotten…
“They say that when a person dies, all of the memories from this world would be cleared to make the burden of moving into a different world disappear. Do you believe that?”
“No. And that’s because I never want to forget about you. This life and even another, I want to spend it all with you.”
I felt the tree-trunk thin until it was nothing but air that I can pass through and I walked to the side of the man whom I’ve made my promise to. The promise that I’ve forgotten… the promise that I’d never forget again…
I watched him as he stooped down to place our wedding photo on the door which led to the home I just left and I figured, it would probably had been the special gift I receive from my Secret Santa if I had stayed in that village until everyone woke up for theirs as well. I looked back on the direction of the tree from where I came from, but it was not there. It’s true, that I could never go back… but I’m fine with it. Maybe someday I will get to return to that peaceful town, but at that time with the man I swore to be with forever.
I gave my husband a tight embrace which he could not feel, and whispered words to him which he could not hear…
I paused and heard him whisper…
“Forget me not”…
And with a kiss I replied:
The image was done a few months after this story was written. I was revisiting my blog and checked out the last SLC story that I posted and figured I should probably put an image on it. I used acrylic paint on paper.
© AmaranthLevana 2010