"A Taste of Bitter Ashes"
By Niko Wilde
Copyright 2002, all rights reserved

Every life is marked by an event that changes its course, forever. For my twin brother Jamie and I, that event was the death of our Mother when we were only five. Neither of us could remember much about her passing- truthfully, neither of us could remember much about her at all. Of course, there was the vague sense that the whole process had been torturously slow and incredibly unfair, but they were a child's memories, and not to be trusted.

When I wanted to remember, I relied on Jamie. While his memories were as scattered and as sparse as my own, he seemed better at piecing them into recognizable vignettes. For instance, he remembered how our mother used to squeeze us both onto her ample lap in the evenings, before bed, and read to us from an enormous, leather-bound book entitled The Selected Works of William Shakespeare. While the words were certainly comforting on some base level, I still had no recollection of the actual scene. I seemed to be cursed with only being able to recall the soft, sweet scent of lavender sachet and the mental image of our mother mere hours before her death, when her lap was anything but ample.



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