He opened the old book he had found lying on the stairs of an abandoned school and started skimming through its pages. It reminded him of the days of yore, when smiles would visit his face frequently. Suddenly, a dried rose fell off its pages. “This looks like a scene from an old movie,” he thought to himself.
He had found the building by chance and would never in a million years have been able to anticipate the treasure trove that it turned out to be. On his journey blundering around in the darkness up and down the school’s central staircase, he stumbled on a cork notice board with the logo of the school, an ad for a trip, a short essay and a paper with a table breaking down the results of some class speaker election pinned to it.
Back home, he made himself a cup of coffee, which he wound up spilling everywhere, as was his wont, to drink and savor the memories that his stop at the abandoned school had stirred up in him. The smell of fresh-made coffee unexpectedly warmed the cockles of his heart and he decided to go out and revisit one of his old favorite places.
With a waddling gait, he approached the benches roofed by the tall green plastic canopy under which he and his pal from back in the day used to hang out all year long. The green hue was a pleasing one. He sat down on one of the benches, but it didn’t feel the same without his friend. His eyes went moist; something must had blown into them. Suddenly, he felt he was missing something else. Of course: the coffee served in a cardboard cup they used to grab from the shop at the corner. He stood up and went to get one. With his hands wrapped around the cup of his freshly acquired coffee, he returned to sit at the bench where he had been seated previously. He sipped on it. It smelled of the very distant past, when everything was still possible and the world was their oyster. He took the dried rose of the old book he had found at the abandoned school out of his pocket and placed it next to him, where his girlfriend from back then used to sit. He recalled thinking that her skin had the texture of rose petals while he used to caress her hand. Lots had come to pass since then and he feared he might one day wake up and realize he had not done enough to become who he was supposed to be.
He turned his eyes up to the golden disk of the sun. Perhaps, he had dreamt it all. And just then, for a second, he thought he saw the plastic canopy billowing up above him.
Written by Muhammad Mahmoud Suleiman Mahmoud.