She may be young, but she only likes old things. The scent of musty books, the dust tickling her nose, the feeling of worn old spines against the sensitive pads of her fingertips. She revels in the scratches of gramophones, the weight of her grandmother’s comb in her hair, the sight of cobwebs on her ceiling.

A reminder of the world’s antiquity in her own little universe. Faded, age-stained ribbons that tied her grandfather’s love letters to her grandmother together. Worn old shoes, faithful and tired. Constant like the slow passage of time. Constant like the steps of humankind. Constant, despite the limitations of an individual life.

She would sit in her grandmother’s lap as a child and trace her fingers over fragile maps, counting all the countries and islands, thrilled by the discrepancy between old and new maps, and exhilarated by the knowledge that future cartographers would change land sizes and alter borders and add the tiniest of spots onto vast blue coloring.

Her heart blooms and her belly swoons as she considers how even the newest of parchments will soon turn faded and yellow, how the most modern technology will be considered antique. There will be people like her who see beauty in the old and outdated – outdated yet treasured – all those archaeologists and collectors and archivists and historians and fashion designers, all filled with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for a time they never knew.

How could you fear the future when it’s bound to be locked in history eventually? How can the past not thrill you when it was someone’s present?

Fingers that have seen sixteen years of life untie a braid that is long out of fashion, pluck an ivory barrette inlaid with initials of people she has never heard of. A locket is unclasped next, delicate and fragile – and perhaps somewhat rusty – but glimmering with love and sentiment, a relationship made immortal by a tangible symbol. A dress shrugged out of, her mother’s, the mesh petticoat grazing olive legs.

What need of physical eternity if material eternity was so beautifully preserved? Stories and emotions and humanity ascribed to possessions, once owned and cherished, once neglected and mistreated, once loved and lost.

Old things. Gold things. Literature and poetry and art. A testament to the world. A testament to humankind. The new had its own place, progress inevitable, but the old cannot – should not – be forgotten. Only loved. Recorded. Saved. Meaning gleaned and appreciated. Feared and unforgotten. Taken heed of like a stern lecture.

She longs for the day she, too, can leave behind legacies. Morbid, her thoughts: the thoughts of a girl who lives in the present but thinks almost solely of what’s passed. Not an anachronism, but not the zeitgeist of the present either – just a young girl with a penchant for the old, for the once-new.


Prompt taken from Yeah Write!


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