The broken picture frame on my shelf


Allie Beaumont

A picture out of the plane window on my way home from spring break

We are perfectly preserved moments of what our brain lets us remember. Every second of rushing chaos or unforgettable expression of ourselves bury deep within; we become a still picture frame on the shelf. 

Right now, the memories are strong and at the forefront of my thoughts. I feel them like a breeze grazing my skin, a voice just out of earshot, the aftertaste of a sweet, sweet dessert.

The memories move and sway as I play back the moments in my head, recalling the picture with impeccable precision, but soon enough, I can feel it fading as my thoughts decide what is and isn’t worthy of remembering. I am saddened when hit with the realization that some minuscule details will not make the cut. 

And the moving moments that once danced across my thoughts proudly, daring me to question what was real and what was merely a combination of too much sunshine and not enough time, now starts to slow.

It was like a blurry television screen you can’t fix or flying home through fog so thick you can’t see the world beneath you. Too quickly, clarity became a relative idea I can no longer grasp. 

The picture frame began to fracture beneath my finger tips. 

The moments began to still like the air around us. 

The picture frame began to fracture beneath my finger tips. 

Only a sun that bright has the power to blur the line we all so willfully stand behind. 

Even in the moment I knew that nothing would ever be this simple again.

I told myself to savor it—I always do.

I always try.

I told myself, “This is it, you better remember because years from now, life will not look the same. The familiar faces before you will morph to ones your current self wouldn’t recognize, and the space in which you are flourishing will become much like the memories you long for. The world around you and the growth within you will never be this obtainable, this young, this beautiful again.” 

Many of us will scream out in protest to go back. The blurrier our visions become, the harder we will look for that sun and those instances in the dull twinge of real life. We will search desperately for the twinkle we swear we saw in the distant ocean waves. 

But inevitably, the further we get from the glorious water, the more we begin to question if it was real or simply our minds playing a cruel joke, challenging us to ask for more than we deserve. 

Eventually, the sun sets, the waves calm, and the vivid memories and moving pictures become nothing more than a broken frame on the shelf full of untold stories.