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A Walk Down Memory Lane

Old Woman
The train was crowded. "Eight more stations to go," she muttered to herself. It had been a month since she moved to this new country, much to her reluctance and Bruno's persistence. Everyone and everything appeared different here. She couldn't understand the language well, especially the accent. The road signs were confusing. People looked extremely busy in their lives. They talked fast and walked fast. A customary 'Hello, how are you?' followed by a brief 'I am fine, Thank You,' or a faint smile was all they could muster. She looked through the crowd. All heads were bent down and all eyes were glued to the smartphones. No, not everyone. One white head was looking across the window. A wrinkled face that decided to defy the trends set by the millennials. 

She reminisced about her old neighborhood and old town. There were no smartphones to restrain people from talking to each other. If your navigation skills were poor, you asked a passerby to help you with directions. She fondly recollected the moment she had asked a handsome stranger for directions to her workplace. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Thankfully, GoogleMaps and Tinder were not there to spoil the moment. A walk through the neighborhood meant greeting your neighbors with a warm smile and asking them about their well being. Who needed Facebook updates and reminders when you could personally wish your friends and neighbors on their birthdays and anniversaries? A hearty meal was meant to be gobbled with loud laughs, not with Instagram posts. 

She thought of her beautiful kitchen garden that had the ripest cherry tomatoes. A faint blush lit her old face on remembering how Philip used to compare the tomatoes to her cheeks. They played crossword puzzles every evening till he could no longer remember the alphabets. Her best photograph with Philip had the kitchen garden at the back and little Bruno looking upwards, distracted by sparrows. "So many memories," she sighed. While Alzheimer's took Philip away, smartphones shooed the sparrows away; leaving her empty and alone.

She was jolted back to the present. The train had stopped at a station. 

"The next station," she reminded herself. Next to her, a young couple was taking a selfie. Maria smiled. Bruno always kept begging her to keep a smartphone, ranting about how she could save Philip's photos in it. "No phone could store the memories of a lifetime," she thought. She still loved that sepia toned photograph taken on her wedding day, one of the few photographs she had with Philip. Every time she looked at the photograph, it evoked a never ending chain of memories. Waiting for the next station, she closed her eyes and let her mind wander in her old, familiar neighborhood with Philip's laugh ringing in her ears. 


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