In The Attic…


At the top of our house sits the attic.

It is a part of our home in the same way that deeply forgotten thoughts are a part of our lives. It houses (it warehouses) those things that are no longer relevant to our current lives: old records, VHS videos, children’s Christmas presents (old ones), books, sleeping bags and Christmas tree lights.

We were up there again, commenting on the damp, and finding things that we really should have thrown out. I am the one who keeps things. I think that everything has its place in life and to discard the unwanted may somehow be wrong. My wife likes to clean out so as not to collect too much baggage and possible nonsense.

So, as a recently recovered madman, I agreed with her. Throw, throw, throw. But it’s Sunday and the tip is closed. The wife loves the tip, I sometimes think more than she loves the present. The tip is a clean break, a fresh start, a cleansing. I just see lots of memories thrown into piles in skips that don’t care.

The attic was cold and there was a definite kiss of damp. the edges of some old books had curled and some odd growth had settled among reports from my middle-daughter’s primary school. They were of no use, but it was somehow wrong to confine them to the eternity of refuse.

At moments like this, I find it impossible to reason with my wife. She is right and I am emotionally wrong. I would hoard everything as a way of keeping the memories alive.

She found a bag of letters and she told me to take them downstairs. When we sat at the dining table and examined our find, it was like uncovering the remains of an Iron-Age burial mound.

There were letters from people whose names we hardly recognised, but to whom we must have been really close to at one time. There were letters from people from whom we had strayed in the intervening years and we wondered at the changes that life had inflicted. There were letters from still close friends that unveiled a long forgotten aspect to their personalities, lines that could prompt genuine amusement all these years later. There were postcards. There were photographs. The captured images revealed us over twenty five years previously and we had to look at ourselves to be double sure.

And then there was the phone book. Numbers written a quarter of a century before. Numbers that would no longer ring or connect. Numbers that trailed off into a stifled eternity.


For some reason, I wanted to dial those numbers and defy the time in between.


Some day somebody may answer.  


6 thoughts on “In The Attic…

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  1. Hey!
    You’ve got my phone!
    I seriously had that Nokia and loved the positive click of each key depression. A friend had to explain how to text after I made the purchase; she nearly gave up on me when I refused to use predictive text, preferring instead the methodology of choosing each letter individually. In the correct order. I was proud of my spelling (quick re-read to this point).
    Old phone books are hysterical… you’re like “Seriously? Why did we even have their number in here?!”

    You’ve been busy today. Can you stop now; you’re too good and I’m meant to be having a siesta …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When we down sized our home we had to make decision on what to keep and what to discard. Having the three sprogs and two of them having left home I thought one of the ways of doing this was to give them their lovingly kept mementos of their early lives. I did have some concern that perhaps these were my memories and not theirs. This proved to be the case when the eldest after a number of his own house moves……bogged of to Cyprus leaving his history behind in a couple of boxes!
    On returning he did pick up his boxes……
    How sad I find myself now with his life ended that those mementos were so scaled down. As always with hindsight, I wish I had kept it all.
    Being unable now to make new memories with him, I think to bring the “stash” out would have evoked all those feelings you had with those wonderful letters and postcards Mike.
    For the most part though after purging our hoards we have found that we have no regrets apart from one which hit the skip accidentally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes we hang on to things for security as if it is a safeguard against the process of time. Yet, there are times when things escape our memories and the stuff in the attic reunite them…

      Liked by 1 person

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