Marcin Czapla Memory Reconstruction

  I slid the key into the door and turned it, hearing that reassuring click that meant it had been unlocked. A long and stressful day has once again brought me to the comfort of my warm and cozy home. However as I entered my house I wasn’t greeted by my mother in the usual cheerful way. There was an eerie mood inside, one I hadn’t felt often before. The Television was off, no Polish dramas were playing, and my mother wasn’t on the brown couch we’ve had since moving in. As I came into the dining room I could see my mom sitting at the kitchen table, tears running down her face. I had never seen her like this before, my mother was the strongest person I knew. She could barely hold onto the phone in her hand. My brother and I looked at each other. Grandpop is dead, he’s gone she said with a tremble in her voice. I dropped my bag which, I had been holding with one arm and immediately embraced her, my brother following forthwith. I could feel her tears hit the back of my neck.

       I hadn’t said anything, I didn’t know what to say. I remember feeling sadness, the purest form of it that had ever resided in me. I wanted to cry, I felt my eyes watering, but I couldn’t, not now. I knew I had to stay strong for her, as she had been for me in the past. He’s in a better place now mom, I told her, but it wouldn’t change anything. How did it happen I asked. He died in his sleep, she answered. Thank you, she said to my brother and I. I knew we hadn’t done much, there wasn’t anything we could do other then be there for her, but still there was so much gratitude in her eyes. My eyes watered again. I remember thinking what I would do if I ever lost her, how I could continue living knowing I’d never get to talk to her again. Do you want me to make you tea, I asked her. I had to distract myself. Yes, thank you Marcin, she answered and so I went to put water in the kettle. As I poured water in the brass kettle, I remembered doing the same back in Poland when I went to visit my grandparents, I remember what my grandpop had told me back then. One day when I won’t be on this Earth anymore, it will be your responsibility to help your mom for me he said. The first tear fell. It hit the kettle and slid down into the sink. I went to turn on the stove.

       I don’t like to remember this memory, as the loss of a loved one is never something pleasant to remind yourself of. It is easier to try and forget, but forgetting is not an option. Sharing this memory will force me to remember, I have to accept what has happened and honor my grandfather’s memory. The present I live in is one without my grandfather in it, all that’s left is his memory and legacy, unlike the memories I have of the past, a past with him in my life.

Authors Note:

Similar to the style of narration presented in the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, in my reconstruction there is a past tense in which I narrate the memory, but there is also a present tense where I reflect upon it and I why it is important to me. In Offred’s narrative we see her describe the emotions she feels towards memories she shares with the readers. I chose to write about this topic because of how it has affected me emotionally and molded me into the person I am today. I saw this topic as very relatable, as we have all gone through something similar or will go through it one day.


Comments (2)

Afi Koffi (Student 2019)
Afi Koffi

First, I give you props for sharing such a personal story. I appreciate the vulnerability that is present in the writing. It allows the reader to really relate to, and feel for, the narrator.

Ameer Johnson (Student 2019)
Ameer Johnson

Based on the author's note, your piece succeeded as you managed to narrate the memory while reflecting upon it in the present tense. Thank you for sharing this, and I appreciate the reason why you shared it. What I'm still thinking about it is how the narrator has grown in what way since the death of his loved one.