The Memory


Fionn Tierney

The Memory by Fionn Tierney

It was early spring, the tulips had just begun to bloom and the whole garden was so vibrant, that sometimes Henry liked to come out to the yard to journal. As he followed the stones, he began to enter the gated garden. Stepping into the garden he examines each flower before sitting down, slowly taking a deep breath for every flower he sees. One of his favorite things about coming to the garden was when he opens the gate, butterflies that were in the bushes that had begun to grow over the bronze fence fly into the air in different directions. As he begins to reach the bench, he readjusts his woven mesh bag and places his bag in the grass patch next to the bench. He steps over a few yards and sits on the garden bench and began to journal and reflect, today’s prompt assigned by his therapist was “What memory haunts you? Write about one memory and how you put it to rest.”  

As his shaky hand writes down the first few words of the prompt, he softly lets out a cry, as his unsteady hand then drops his pen. Taking in another deep breath, the emotional toll the writing sits upon him and starts to sink into sits in his soul. He attempts to realign his thoughts; yet all he could think about is the passing time, and the sound of the old grandfather clock returns to him. His tears had dried, he had begun to take his pen off the garden floor and began to write again. This time being more truthful.  

Taking a deep breath he begins to reminise about a time in his early teen years, and he writes about the rolling fields in the Colorado valley that had seemed to have gone on forever, and the lush green forestry form the porch and he begins to write,  


 “I had spent every day of the summer doing nothing but staring at the hills on his rocking chair that was perfectly placed on his porch. After, I had spent the summer with my grandparents. I began to reminisce on his summer, a sort of melancholy and sadness washed over me. I watched the clouds slowly float across the sky dancing into new shapes. I began to think that he knew too much. I told my grandfather he would not tell anyone the things he learned after staying at the cabin for the summer. He began to regret this newfound information he knew; it was not right to keep such a thing quiet, but he knew it was better for the family. Abruptly behind me from inside the screen door, I heard a sharp, loud, and short strike of a grandfather clock. I cried softly trying to hide it from my grandparents inside. I had twenty minutes left before I would get picked up and go home and decide if he should tell his parents when they arrived this new secret. Time had seemed to pass, seemed to pass slowly, and felt as if it would never end. As these minutes slowly ticked away it felt like slow daggers stabbed my heart. As every minute ticked away, a large wave of remorse washed away at him. It has become too late to tell anyone it already what had been done. From a distance, a soft rumble shook my chair. The hum of the engine had gradually gotten louder. A small silver broken-down car had slowly been making its way up the driveway as it cut through the once beautiful hills that he had looked out upon. It was too late to tell, too late to fix things. In terms of putting this memory to rest, at this point I cannot.

It was right after my return to my parents that pushed me to go me to get help from professionals.”


“During this process, it had lead me to be diagnosed. The burden of secrets that my dying grandparents had told me left me at a crossroads. A crossroads I am still stuck at. It was not normal for a young child to look at such terror in the face and turn a blind eye. This burden has caused me to have an immense amount of anxiety, it was unhealthy, unnatural. It caused me to think so heavily before speaking, about how I word my sentences. They were so carefully planned that it seemed almost psychotic to some, but to me, it was my safety net. That was the first reason my parents called the doctors. In my head was a clock, and every second it would tick softly and would not shut off, to me it was loud and blaring tick of a grandfather clock. As time passed in the day, this clock always got louder and as the minute’s hours ticked by, I often tried my best to mute the noise. I attempted to do other tasks and activities, like journaling prompts given by the unhelpful professionals. However, these noises caused me to become hyper aware of my actions and my words and would cause an immense amount stress however often talking about it made the noises louder.”



“In my mind, a man is not who is on the outside, but however it is his desires, character, and integrity. To me keeping this secret is the highest honor, and even if no one knew it, it shows character. This secret and burden, given to me by my grandparents frustrated me, so much, that it led me here. It led me to become so sensitive to this secret that it left me here. which only broke my mother’s heart more.  

To others I am ill, sick, unwell. Although is it my fault for protecting such a secret? It is not sick.