Adia Reynolds | 2 Works

Forget-Me-Nots in a Bottle

“But won’t this cause–”

“A paradox, yes– no– listen. Can’t exactly send this in a time warp postal service.”

“We wrote letters to our younger selves and stuffed them into the biggest wine bottle I’d ever seen. Or maybe it was vodka. A bitter smell wafted out and stung the bleach-white of my eye as I pressed it to the bottleneck.”

“Message in a bottle.”

“Lost at sea.”

“Less so than we used to be.”

“You mean less lost than I am now?”

“Google maps is gonna become your best friend, girlie.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I know. It’s just easier to forget.”

“Please don’t forget about me.”

“God, I know. To the outside viewer it’s a mundane survival technique. But I turned our greatest fear into a coping mechanism.”

“How dare you. How dare you. How can you look in the mirror without seeing me in your reflection?”


. . .

“We’ve never been good at making eye contact. But by the time I was able to admire the naked human form, my reflection, my body– my temple, one might say– I’d become a different person entirely.”

“The Ship of Theseus–”

“– Found a message in a bottle bobbing along the waves.”

“You’re not who I thought you would be.”

“You become the person–”

“–You would have felt safest with as a child.”

. . .

“You chopped off your hair.”

“Coming back from that salon was the first time I broke through the prosopagnosia. It was the first time I recognized myself in the mirror.”

“And what of the ouroboros? The self-consuming, self-induced amnesia?”

“Forgetting is so much softer though. Soft as those sky blue petals brushing their comforting touch against my cheek.”


“i am all too well acquainted with this antiquated grief”

Braves baseball paraphernalia are scattered around the antique shop. Bibles take up an entire row of the bookshelves. Yes, the owner was a true-blooded American Man, just from these two details.


My uncle is buried in his Braves baseball jersey. “It’s what he would have wanted”. How could you know that? The meanings of the dead cannot be derived from what they left behind.

I try to pick up a vase to show my sister, and she frowns and asks why I’m not paying attention.

This is a funeral.

No, this is a thrift shop.

When I go to place the vase back on the shelf, it is the stern of a boat. How did they manage to get this thing in here?

This isn’t a ship. This isn’t a thrift. This is a funeral. That is a casket.

At the end of the funeral service— the real funeral service, not whatever fever dream this is—
Mom made us get in line with everyone else. She even grabbed little Twelve and Five, too young to sit through the memorial part, yet old enough to wade through this morbid procession. I don’t think she found it the least bit macabre to force us to stare at his placid expression. The faint smile on his lips. I’ve never met a better liar than a mortician. Such a peaceful expression hand-crafted to emulate the emotion. To impress upon us that he is at peace, so you should be to. Thunder cracks. Waves roll.

There is no peace in pretending.

Are you even paying attention?

My chest is too young to hold fast in the storm. My ribs the bow of my ship, gaping, exposing the heart and drowning those who dared to call this vessel seaworthy. My chest is too young. I don’t have the weathered years to tar the decks to keep the pain from sprouting leaks.

Everyone is gathered around the ship. Casket. Viking funeral? Braves funeral, if only for what he dons into the afterlife. I’m not feeling very brave. During the memorial service the day prior I entered that room once, and left as soon as I realized the casket was not only in there, but open. Why would you do that? Why would you make me look, Mom?

You did a good job, Dad. I’ve never heard a more heartbreaking phrase than this, shouted by my cousin to the corpse. You did a good job.

How am I supposed to weather this?

We stand around the boat, so surreal, nowhere near serene. When we say goodbye, all we are left with is the junk left behind. Human storage units. And what we can’t fit in our sinking ships goes to the thrift.

I am all too well acquainted with this antiquated grief.

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