Timeless

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January 3, 2022 by thewashingteenian

By Lily Rei

Akito stepped inside the little shop, and looked all around. Dust caught the sunlight, dolls sat on shelves, many tables with vases on them and chairs covered the floor, and beautiful paintings covered the wall. Truly, this shop was like a time capsule. This place, full of magic, was William’s Antiques. 

The tiny store, filled to the brim with antiques, was a piece of Akito’s childhood, of her youth.  Even now, it reminded her of the laughter, smiles, and happiness she had shared with her childhood friend, Kiyoshi. Kiyoshi and her had visited this shop so much when they were young, and although the memories made Akito happy, she could never avoid the pang she felt in her heart when she thought about him. 

Their very first meeting had been so fateful, she had been sure they were meant to be together forever. Unfortunately, though, she was wrong.

 Remembering the first time they met, even though they were no longer together, she was still sure it was meant to be. She had wandered into the shop, when she was only six,  looking for somewhere to buy a cookie with the money her mother had kindly given her. She had only just moved from Japan, and could hardly speak English.

The shop, which had not changed from the way it was back then, made a pure little sound of a bell. She had stepped inside nervously, beginning to realize she couldn’t buy a cookie here. As she was about to turn around, however, she noticed a doll, with beautiful blonde hair and deep blue eyes. It had the most elegant dress on, and was unlike anything she had seen before. 

She picked it up, admiring it. She happily spun it around in the air, watching it’s dress gracefully blow in the wind. 

“Don’t do that!” She turned toward the voice, surprised. The voice she heard spoke in Japanese, which she didn’t think she’d hear in America. The voice’s owner was a young boy, no older than her. He didn’t look angry, however, he looked worried.

 “Put it down!” He now spoke in a whisper, looking around in fear. 

“Why?” 

“You’re not allowed to touch anything in here!”

 “Ehh..?” She put the doll down gently, confused.

 “Why?” He looked calmer now, and no longer afraid. 

“Because…. This is a shop that sells things that are very old. If you touch them, they might break.”

 “Really?” Akito, at the time, was young and couldn’t understand how it could easily break merely because it was old. 

“Yeah..” She saw a tall, middle aged man walk by, with brown hair and green eyes. 

“Hello little girl. Welcome to my shop!”

 He spoke in English, so she could not understand him. Suddenly begging to feel nervous again, she stepped back, bumping into the table. The doll, which she had put down much too close to the edge, started to fall off. Kiyoshi, however, swiftly reached down and caught the doll.

 That moment would remain in her mind forever. 

As she got older, she began to learn some English. Kiyoshi already knew English, so, if she didn’t understand something she learned at school, he would help her understand it. They loved playing games together, such as hide-and seek and tag. Their favorite thing to do of all, though, was visiting the antique shop. 

They loved looking at all the old, unique things that children from the past played with, sat on, and the things they furnished their houses with. If you went in early morning or afternoon, at just the right time, when the sun shone through the little glass window above the check-out desk at just the right angle, all the glass trinkets, just ahead of the desk, would shine in the sunlight. They would paint little rainbows all over the floor around them and the shelf that they sat on. Later, William put a chandelier on the wall, with little glass beads hanging off, so even more so than before, the shop was painted with rainbows. 

This little shop, all through their childhood, was very precious to them. Although every item in the shop had a price, to them, the shop itself was priceless.

Once they both went into middle school, they still treasured the shop. They went there everyday after school, admiring all the beautiful, unique, and sometimes very strange, objects that the shop had to offer. They spent immeasurable hours laughing, smiling, and just simply being together in the shop. Since she was in middle school, she now understood English well. Sometimes, she and Kiyoshi would talk to the owner of the shop, William. He would tell them how old certain objects were, and sometimes, would even tell them where they were found. The majority of items were from America, however, some were also from England and Germany. It was very rare, but sometimes, he’d even have something from Japan. 

One of the things that the shop sold that she loved the most were clocks. Her very favorite type of clocks were grand clocks. Many of them had unique carvings in them, with things such as birds, trees, and nature. She loved pointing them out to Kiyoshi, during which he would almost always be entranced by the paintings. 

They spent their days carelessly, and she never wanted it to end. However, before she went into high school, Kiyoshi’s father decided to move. He had found a job five hours from home that paid quite well, and he didn’t want to miss that opportunity. As a result of that, Kiyoshi had to move. Just like that, the smiles, laughter, and moments that they shared were over. 

Even though it had only been a year since he left, it seemed like forever. She stopped visiting the shop every day, unable to overcome the sadness she felt from Kiyoshi moving. She still visited it sometimes, just not nearly as often. Now, when she went inside, it would always be by herself. There was no longer someone there to open the door for her, and to motion for her to go inside, smiling sweetly. When she looked around, there wouldn’t be anybody to point at the first thing he saw, saying; “Isn’t that new?’ regardless of whether or not it had been there for weeks. There wouldn’t even be anybody to say, once she found something she liked and told him, 

“Why don’t I ge- well, maybe when I save more money I’ll get it for you….” It was now a lonely shop, without the brightness it used to hold. 

Her friends had always thought it was strange that she liked to visit a shop that just sold old stuff. 

“Once something’s old, don’t you just throw it away? Why would there be a shop full of old things?” 

But she didn’t care. As long as Kiyoshi liked it, it wasn’t strange. It wasn’t weird. It was magical. She still considered that to be true, but never, never could she imagine it being as bright as it had been in her childhood. Maybe it was just because she was young and more innocent that it had seemed brighter, or maybe it was just because those times were warmer.

 Regardless, even now, she could imagine little children scurrying by her feet, laughing, pointing at a funny vase. She could see a preteen boy admiring a painting with a young girl, his age, confused as to why that painting interested him more than the clock beside it. She could watch a teenage girl begin to cry, gripping her skirt. She could even see the boy next to the girl, nervously, hand her a bracelet. It was silver and shining, with sapphire in the middle of each design. She could hear the boy say, in almost a whisper; “Sense I’m going to be leaving, not able to see this shop anymore…. No.. not able to see you…. I want you to have… Something that reflects us…. An antique…”

 She watched as the girl smiled, tears still trickling down her cheeks, and nod gently. When she looked down, she could see the bracelet on her wrist. It was still just as beautiful and shining…. It was the only solid thing in the world left that still held the feelings and happiness they once shared.

 One day, though, she knew it would break. Antiques, like everything in life, eventually deteriorate. One thing that would last with her as long as she lived, however, was her memories. They were unlike everything that this shop held, unlike the doll, the chandelier, or even the clocks. These memories of hers….. Were forever timeless.

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