The Box of Memories

“ So what do you say, I go buy the cookies , come back and cook …or I cook , and then go on to Mrs. Brown’s house and come back with the cookies ?” asked Rachel looking fondly towards her husband..

“ Okay, so you feel I should cook first…Fine then..” Rachel hummed herself a tune and she at 80 was strong and able…and no one could beat her at her energy and enthusiasm to do things. People came to her with all kinds of problems and she the ever patient and tolerant one used to find great pleasure in being with the world. Rachel’s duties now over , her son was settled and she lived with memories of her and Robert …her better half…how they were when they were young and this gave her the zest to live.

Robert’s presence was enough for Rachel to live her life. His love, passion and care gave her the reason to be and she was always happy and cheerful due to his constant companionship.

Rachel’s house typically resembled that of a person who wanted to give to the world what they wanted. Very cosy and warm, it reminded one of those wayside inns which originally were homes or cottages. The fire burned in the fireplace and Rachel lovingly patted Robert and bid him goodbye.

Hi, Mr. Smith..” trailed Rachel’s voice as she cycled down the lanes of Pulsbury…the quiet town where Rachel and Robert had decided to settle down after they wound up their settlement in London. Yes, Rachel always cycled….that’s what Robert likes….He always would have a problem with the amount of pollution caused due to vehicles. Choosing a lesser known path of saving the environment…Robert had achieved his passion through his dreams and through his wife Rachel who was by his side like a rock against all odds.

Mr.Smith the local shopkeeper…glanced down the slow cyclist on the road and nodded his head in amazed acceptance at how an octogenarian could be so lively and happy. “ “How is Robert’s gift ?” he shouted back….to which the waving scarf headed Rachel just waved one of her hands up in the air …it was like pounding her fists up in a show of delight…

That was Rachel…cheerfully greeting everyone and happy with the way world was. And she attributed her reason to be to Robert’s support.

Rachel reached Mrs. Brown’s house and was happy to see that she had kept her brewed coffee ready. Rachel loved coffee and so did Robert though he preferred cocoa more….and Mrs. Brown never failed to give Rachel her favourite beverage as the forgetful Rachel always ran short of coffee in her house. Over mugs of coffee and cookies….Rachel related to Mrs. Brown how her son had gone summer camping in the mountains of India, and how her grandson played the Indian drum exactly like her son….Mrs. Brown also had long tales to tell about her family and before Rachel left , did not forget to give her a netted shawl to drape over Robert.

“Take this Rachel, in the season to come ….it would rain and this drape would ensure Robert is not troubled….:”

“ Robert would love it…I guess, but he wouldn’t use it…it’s made of animal fur…he is anyway against ill treatment to animals. So I guess I would just use the regular shawl that I use everyday…” Mrs. Brown gave an exclamation and said>” Oh, how did I forget that….! Anyway then take this …this is a stool rest which would give Robert a lot of comfort…:” ….Rachel liked the gift instantly…and stepped out, cap on her head…ready to cycle down….

Picking up cookies from Stanley’s, Rachel went to visit to the local orphanage…Robert had set this up way back when they met each other…One of those myriad passions Robert had ….this was a home for the hapless where a lot of craft work was taught and kids were taken care of…Mission Spiro….he called it…and succeed he did …and now Rachel’s means of existence.

“Phew….! It was so sultry outside..” panted Rachel as she entered home, put her cap in the capstand…and looking at Robert…said “ Oh darling….! I am so sorry…I left you for so long…Here let me show you something Mrs. Brown gave you…..”

So saying Rachel put the stool rest and kept an antique box on it…Rachel opened the box and looked at the photos, the newspaper cuttings, the caricatures, and stroked them fondly…A tear in her eye, Rachel looked at it and said…” Robert, do you like your new stool rest…?’

Yes, Rachel was all the time referring to the box as Robert,….People referred to his presence, his getting troubled ….if we refer back to the story…see nowhere has it been mentioned that Robert ever spoke ….that Robert is living…It couldn’t have been….because Robert died in her first year of marriage…but according to her , Robert gave her so much to hold on to, so much love, so much passion, so much care that it lasted a lifetime for her….Rachel called the box Robert as for her it is Robert’s memories that are stored in it….Rachel’s box of memories…..


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