Flash Fiction Story 060: Treasured Memories

The Camerons—please, call them Roger and Esther—took a moment from their busy lives of traveling and making friends to sit in their living room and look through the photo album of past trips and the people they had met along the way.

“Oh, Roger,” said Esther. “Look at that. Those are the… Wait. It’ll come to me.”

Silence passed between them. “The Walkers, Esther,” Roger eventually answered.

“Yes! The Walkers. Lovely couple. That must have been, what? 1997?”

Roger nodded and tapped the Polaroid of the Walkers, as if touching the photo would elevate the memory into something more real. He turned the page. More photos followed. “Look, Esther,” said Roger. “This is from our trip to San Francisco. Remember the Newmans?”

Esther smiled wider than the Grand Canyon and basked in her memories of the City by the Bay. “The family was Catholic, of course… But very nice.”

“Very nice,” Roger agreed.

Transfixed by further memories, Esther reached forward and turned to the next page in the album.

“The Murphys!” they both cried, nostalgia taking them both over in equal measure.

“Oh, they were so nervous!” Esther said.

Roger gave his blushing bride a sideways glance. “We were, too, if you remember.”

She smiled and remembered. “It seems like so long ago.” 

“That was a big one for us,” Roger remarked. “Not our first, but… Golly, I can’t even remember our first all that well.”

“Oh, don’t remind me, Roger. We were so young. We got better, dear, no need to dwell on our amateur days.”

Roger nodded and flipped the page again. “Oh, look, Esther, the Halls. Sweet people.”

Esther’s face dropped. “Yes, but the boy wandering off like that… Gave us quite a fright!” She was already done with this memory.

His wife’s occasionally gloomy disposition could sour even the sweetest of moments. “Yes, he escaped, Esther… But time caught up with him. Time catches up with everyone.” Not wanting to linger on a bitter moment, he turned the page once more.

Esther giggled, any trace of dourness evaporating like morning dew. “Oh, the Banleys… You never forget a family that got you on the front page of The New York Times.”

Roger’s laugh sounded a little sharper than he meant it, but just a little. “I’d prefer the Wall Street Journal…” he grumbled.

Esther playfully pushed him. “Oh, Roger,” she admonished, but in every word there was love. From both of them.

“The FBI really thought they had their suspect all figured out,” Roger mused.

“Yes, suspect,” Esther echoed.

They took in all the other memories displayed, and for a moment reality started to seep into their reverie.

“Roger?” Esther asked.

“Yes, Esther?”  Roger replied.

“We’re getting older, you know.”

Roger furrowed his brow. But then, he supposed, his brow was always furrowed. “I’m getting old, you’re just getting more lovely day by day there, Esther.”

“How long can we keep doing this, do you wonder?”

Roger patted her leg and shut the photo album. “As long as you like, my dear,” he told her. “As long as you like. Shall we?”

She nodded and rose from the sofa. Roger followed shortly behind her. He grabbed their camera; she grabbed the meat clever. There were always new memories to make. The Doren family—bound, gagged, and waiting in the basement—would see to that.

Art by Eris O’Reilly

Art by Eris O’Reilly