Footprints In The Past by Matthew Coleman

I walk the streets of the south coast of England. I pick a small stem of lavender. I hold it to
my nose and breathe in its fragrance. Its smell is so soothing, calming. It reminds me of
the two lavender bushes outside my Mother's house.

Gently I roll the flowers in my hands like I've seen my Father do so many times before.

Neither of us live there anymore. We have not lived there for a long time.

It is my Mother's house now, hers, and yet it holds the experience of most of my childhood.

Again I hold my hands to my face to breathe in the fragrance of the lavender. The small
purple flowers then fall to the floor I walk upon.

The sun is not far off from setting. It is so very warm tonight, and yet so many people are
still inside their houses. I see many of them in their living rooms, transfixed by televisions.

Many windows have been left open. Abandoned.

Warmth is so fleeting in this country, and yet so many people hide inside.

These streets hold the memories of my childhood. They still linger like smoke that will
eventually melt into the setting sun of now.

I walk on, knowing I'm gradually breaking free of many of my illusions whilst trying to shed
old habits like a skin I have long since outgrown. More than anything I want to take off all
my masks, to feel my true, naked self, and to feel no fear anymore.

But to shed these things can be so very painful.

The beach, whose footprints in the sand I'd seen earlier, are now a memory too, like so
many other things before it. But by now those footprints will be washed away, taken deep
into the sea. I should not stop to think where they could be.

I must keep walking, to keep going forward and learn to be able to leave other, newer
footprints behind me.

I must keep walking. I must keep going forward; one step at a time, one step at a time.

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