I tend to hold onto memories like sentimental letters from long-lost friends. In a way, that’s exactly what they are, but some letters are meant to collect dust for a very long time before they’re read so as not to be misconstrued, and some are meant to be burned. I can remember when I was three years old, I walked into the family room in my house and simply noticed how tall the asbestos-treated, vaulted ceilings were. Around the same age, I watched light stream through the skylight in the hallway between the living room/kitchen and family room, illuminating the little specks of dust that lazily floated through the air. It must have been a Saturday because the dust was particularly lazy that day. I know I was around three of four years old because I moved out of that house just after turning five.
Those are letters I have no business holding onto, but I enjoy them for their simplicity and innocence, and I have a few more like them. I do, however, have letters I think I burned prematurely. My old friends from around 5th-8th grade remind me of some fun and interesting times we had back in the good ‘ol days, but there are some memories I was certainly present for, and yet did not retain. They were very pleasant memories, too, I’m sure of it. It was within those years a few friends had died, and the only thing I can think of is that something in that moment cast a pang of sorrow through me. But now, I wish I had some of those memories back. The problem is you can’t puzzle together pieces of ash.
I wish I could burn the letters from Regret.
Honestly, at the end of the day, the funniest thing to think about is how every letter we’ve written, whether by hand or by mind, will eventually succumb to the ravenous, consuming jaws of time. Some will decay with us, and some will last as long as we do.
In the End, every letter is burned.
In the End, it’s all just ashes.