I Used to Think

I used to think when people died their images would fade,
their color pictures change to black and white then grey,
their spirits hover like the light at nightfall.
After his fatal heart attack, I felt Walter tethered
to the earth, revolving like a moon in orbit
or were we revolving around him
who felt alone out there?
But when you died I saw nothing.
The sun eclipsed, the moon
went dark, and an absence grew
so vast a continent appeared where I now live.

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How Dina Aunty relished her memories. Mummy and Daddy were the same, talking about their yesterdays and smiling in that sad-happy way while selecting each picture, each frame from the past, examining it lovingly before it vanished again in the mist. But nobody ever forgot anything, not really, though sometimes they pretended, when it suited them. Memories were permanent. Sorrowful ones remained sad even with the passing of time, yet happy ones could never be re-created—not with the same joy. Remembering bred its own peculiar sorrow. It seemed so unfair: that time should render both sadness and happiness into a source of pain.

> From A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry