Box full of memories

This weekend I attended a workshop/course in Transactional Analysis counselling. At some point we had to write a random story, this is what came out with me in 12 minutes of manic writing:

Box full of memories

There once was a Boy with a little box full of memories. He kept the box under his bed and had filled it with photographs, tin soldiers, a shark’s tooth and lots of other little artifacts that reminded him of all the fun things he had done. Every now and then (and especially when he felt lonely) he would take the box from underneath his bed, open it up and look at all his memories. It would usually make him feel a lot better and give him a fuzzy feeling of content inside. It was so nice to be surrounded by his memories.

One dark night he was lying in his bed, fast asleep, while his parents sat in the living room drinking tea. They were reading a bit and chatting a bit, while Dad stroked Mum’s hair when suddenly Dad noticed a smell… a smell of smoke! He ran to the door of the kitchen, felt the door knob and flinched from the heat that came from it and burned his hand. Fire! The dryer had caught fire and had lit up the laundry in front of it, which had set fire to the cleaning products. Everything was ablaze and the smoke started to flow into the living room.

Dad shouted at his wife to “get out of the house, now, there’s a fire!” after which he ran up the stairs, taking two steps at a time, yelling for the little Boy to wake up. He threw open the door to the little Boy’s bedroom, grabbed the Boy out of bed, ran down the stairs, through the smoke and out the front door to safety.

The three of them stood outside on the lawn looking at the fire that the house was now engulfed in. All around them cars and trucks with sirens skidded to a halt, while slowly the neighbourhood became alive with people. They held each other and each of them cried. Dad a few tears for the house he had worked so hard for all his life, and was now slowly going up in flames. Mum cried with big sobs, because they had lost the house and everything in it, but her family was okay.

And the little Boy cried and cried and cried. Finally Mum asked “are you okay my dear? are you hurt? Why are you crying?”. I’ve lost all my memories mum!” the boy said “ They were in the box, I couldn’t take them with me, and now they’re gone!”. “Surely that cannot be true my Boy” Dad said. “If your memories were gone, how can you remember that you had them!? You see, your memories are in your own little head, and the little things you kept in the box are not YOUR memories, they are your MEMORIES’ memories.

The little boy stopped sobbing, though the tears still streamed down his ash-covered face. “what do you mean dad?” he sniffed with a puzzled expression on his face. “What I mean is that you have memories in your head, that sometimes need memories, like a photograph or a tin soldier. But if those things aren’t there anymore, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the memories anymore. It just means that YOU have to remind your memories of how much you enjoyed that summer holiday, or that game you played with your friend. You will have to make sure that your memories don’t forget how good those times were, because now that you don’t have the little box anymore they’ll need a little help from you!”

“oh… I don’t want that… they were very good memories” the Boy said, and continued to think on it a bit longer. “I’ll try and remind them heaps Dad!” he eventually said smiling “I don’t want them to forget!”. And as the family had all been crying before, they were now all smiling, reminding their memories of how great their life in the house had been, and how they would always carry that with them, even though the house was now gone. Their memories would always stay, as long as they continued reminding them.