(Playing with a five-minute sprint writing technique, this is a short piece of FICTION I wrote.)
As I climbed up into the stuffy attic, a billowing fog of dust rose and tickled my nose, making me sneeze. A circa 1800’s setting greeted me, sepia-toned, with huge pirate-like treasure chests haphazardly placed throughout the enclosed space. Memories rose, and my heart fluttered with intense feelings of longing. This space somehow reminded me of the childhood I never had.
My index finger traced the etchings on one of the wooden chests. I tugged at the latch and flipped the solid lid open. It creaked with argument after being closed for so many years. A mohair teddy bear and antique doll lay on top of a stack of colourful checkered tablecloths and quilted bedding.
When I placed my hand on the teddy bear, a beam of sunlight shone through the attic window. A vignette played before my eyes showing a young woman sitting on a rocking chair. A little girl sat on her lap, her tiny head rested against her Mother’s chest. The light reflected against the soft blond curls framing the woman’s round face. She read a dog-eared book to the child whose little fingers fidgeted with the edge of the stained apron her Mother wore. I wiped the wetness from my eyes before the tears streaked down my cheeks. The scene in front of me represented everything I wanted from a mother, but not what I received growing up.
Shifting my gaze, I noticed an antique dresser standing behind the chest. The mirror on top of it, crusted with dust, invited me over for a closer look. I swiped across the glass to remove some of the grime. My reflection showed an adult with greying hair and a face that wore wrinkles from frowning too much throughout life. Beside me stood myself as a little girl, her reflection one of innocence and youth. I slid an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close to my side. She needed the love that I could offer now because she never had it growing up.
While sunlight played across our features, we stared into the mirror, mourning that which we never received.