NEW πŸ“—Story: Radio ❌

Memory and Death in the Flower Tundra

Saturday, Sep 19, 2020
feature image
✿ This article was featured in Issue #5 of the Atlantic Bulletin

It was their first hike after Maya’s funeral. She had found adult life completely disappointing, and never moved out of home. In her last summer, she developed a desperate fascination with her receding childhood, and eventually took her own life outside of the classroom she’d studied in as a third-grade student.

Her death deeply disturbed Tzipora, who was keenly aware of how sentimental people died against metrics of their own imagination. She wondered if the government architects who designed schools and universities considered how those spaces gave life to memories. They were filled with lunchtimes and puppy love and old friends and your parents β€” and those things folded into brick and concrete and linoleum floors. Fifty years earlier, some architect designed a classroom so valuable that Maya took her own life in the memory of it.

Their Puffling troop had set off for a camp site two hours away. Tzipora and Zo did not walk with them. They followed the flower tundra north, near where Zo and Maya had played as kids. At the base of an old oak, shrouded in a cool mist, Zo buried a pair of plastic earrings and laced school shoes, neither of which had been worn in a long time. Zo started to cry. Tzipora gave her some time to herself. After a while they drank hot tea with their feet in the creek. The mist had closed them in. There was good reason why people travelled to flower-tundras to meet with the dead. The mirror-pools and tombstone drumlins invoked the spirits.

After the tea, Zo pulled out her map and they set off again for the camp site, leaving the tree behind forever.