Books, handwritten letters, photographs, records, memories and posters, his life were full of them. He woke up religiously at 6 every morning and went straight to his treasure chest, filled with things which others called old junk, but for him it was his life. It was everything he ever wanted and ever owned. He had lived a life the way he wanted. He was 75 and a widower. It had been 15 years since his wife had passed away and he missed her the most. His two sons had left him long ago and he lived in a small house that he built himself near the lake where he met his wife for the first time 45 years ago. It was the place he proposed marriage and she had said yes.
The treasure chest contained all that means the world to him. Photographs of his wife, his kids, some real close friends and memories from each and every one of his trips. He loved to travel and he ensured he took his wife with him everywhere he went. Old records that he used to listen to all his favorite music from everyday on the gramophone player that adorned his desk. He would start his day with some lovely music that would fill the three rooms that he had in his house. Cofi, his dog was the only other living thing that stayed with him.
Rafi’s voice echoed in the background, as he made his first cup of coffee for the day. He whistled to Cofi to fetch the newspaper that was thrown near the gate by the little boy down the lake who delivered his dose of world news. He settled down on the big easy chair overlooking the lake and began sipping his coffee. His face had a lot of wrinkles. His hair was silky but silver in color. He had aged gracefully. Looking at his face one couldn’t understand him completely. One had to look deeper and deeper, like excavating the real face that hid behind all the layers of wrinkles. It was poetry in motion if you had to analyze the man’s face. After completing the newspaper, he walked up to his treasure chest and took out an album. He had collated it himself. With photographs that spanned many decades. He had also written notes about the places where those pictures had been taken to remind him of all the things beautiful in his life. He saw a picture of his wife, this young gorgeous woman who was 26 at the time when the picture was taken. He gently ran his wrinkled, shaky fingers over the picture, caressed her face and smiled. A drop of tear trickled down from his eyes and changed its course many times before falling on the back of his hand. He scrolled through the many pictures that adorned his album and he did this everyday.
He would then take another paper bag which had all the letters that his wife had written to him when he was in the army. The letters were very brittle, almost had a shade of brownish yellow after all these years. He still loved the smell of his dead wife’s perfume on those letters. He had been in the army a year after he had gotten married and was away from his wife for four years. He still believed that it was those four years that made him realize that she was the one he wanted to spend all his life with. These letters were worth a fortune. Every time he read those letters, he could visualize his wife reading it out to him, speaking to him. He could feel her presence. That’s why he did that everyday. The many names she would address him by, the little fights they had, things that were bothering her in his absence. It was magic.
Today as he was reading those letters, he was overcome with emotion. It was their anniversary. After he was done with the last letter, he closed the box and walked up to the lake. He stood there gazing at the water. He could see his reflection on the water. His eyes were moist. As he kept looking at his reflection, he could see another person next to him. There she was, smiling at him. He whispered, “Happy Anniversary, My love. What would you like to have for lunch”?