The Hall of Familiar Faces
Martin Hooijmans | Lars de Ruyter
It was amazing. It truly was. The structure before him was greater than he had ever dared to dream. Gates of the strongest wood, etched deeply, hinted at the memories that lay beyond. He dashed forward when a heavy hand came to rest on his shoulder.
“Remember,” the guide said. “Do not speak. They are not who you are looking for.”
He nodded, then pushed open the gates with a heavy groan. Stepping inside, he immediately laid his eyes upon the first familiar face, which belonged to a heavily bearded man. The streaks of grey in his long, shaggy hair jolted memory, and the man who could not remember himself, could not help himself. “Dad?” he whispered.
In a blinding flash, the man shattered, along with the bit of memory that had surfaced, leaving nothing but the knowledge that these people were mere fragments, fragile ones, of those he sought. Beyond the lost figure lay an ocean of people, somehow calling out to him. He did not think for one moment. He plunged.
Most faces conjured only the slightest traces of recollection. But there were also friends, relatives, lost loves. Mom came by, and so did Sally, his sister. Tears formed in his eyes when he remembered her tragic accident. He wanted to call out to her, touch her, but now knew the risk of doing so.
No matter how many faces he saw, something gnawed at his guts. Memories, beautiful as they were, did not make him whole. A vital piece was missing.
And then he saw her, radiant, in the middle of the hall. His better part. She cast him a glance, and he knew. Everything. He wanted to kiss her, but it wasn’t her. All came back, however, and he knew where to go.
Surfacing, he threw off the white bed sheets and pulled her in close, planting his lips firmly on hers.
It was like he’d never been away.