'Dearest' by Gayathiri Dhevi Appathurai
Gayathiri Dhevi Appathurai, LISP 2nd Half 2021 Flash Fiction Finalist by 'Dearest'
I was hoping you would find this note. Promise me, you won’t peek into the box in front of you until you read this. Ah, you opened it already, didn’t you? You have never been a good listener.
You know now. The strands of decorative lights we bought ten years ago. Our oldest memory. Do you remember the first time? When we put them up, everyone said they were perfect. We were smitten with them, weren’t we? We preserved them like our most valued possession.
The lights weren’t always perfect, but they were full of life. Until our fifth year. You were moody about something; you yanked the bulbs roughly. The entire strand collapsed on the ground. Imagine my shock. You apologized and promised to be gentle. People said the lights were incredible, barely noticing the flaw.
The following year, we shifted to another city. The lights got lost in the clutter, the frenzied life. By then, you cared about them less. I searched for days, found them buried under trivial things you couldn’t let go of, revived them, made it appear like nothing was lost. Except for that spark.
A few months later, the lights had become dull. They flickered and fumbled. You wanted to get rid of them. But I couldn’t. They were precious to me. Years of mishandling, yet you blamed me for their imperfection. I started believing it too.
Ever since then, you had felt stuck with the lights. The mere sight of them infuriated you. You threw them out callously. I picked them back up, untangled them with utmost patience. Every single time. But they were invisible to you. I see it now.
So, I have chosen to leave the lights behind. They can’t be untangled anymore.