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The Typewriter

The Typewriter
Iona Mandal

My mother kept her typewriter in the back of her clothes wardrobe. She said it was because it reminded her of the many letters she had written to my father using it. My sister and I always longed to see it. We had asked her for years to spare us a quick glance. She never did. The same excuse left her lips like a broken record, “Memories will come flooding back.” Neither of us sisters remembered who our father was. Not even his name. Only she did. 
A day before my 7th birthday, we ventured inside her wardrobe, taking a step of faith into uncharted territory. We were careful not to make the door creak. Finding way through the various fabrics was certainly not easy. We found ourselves among her myriad woollen jumpers, tank tops, knee-length skirts, and distressed jeans mum had collected over the years from charity shops. I let my arms dance, as if in breaststroke; fibre from each piece of garment clinging onto my hands while I let it go.  Mum’s clothes always had a distant, musky smell to them, almost as if she had spilt a bottle of perfume over them years ago. Somehow, the scent had never waned away completely although years had elapsed.
At last, we reached a dead-end, the empty back wall. It was completely dark. We were both pressed against the cold, clean wood, hand in hand, after what seemed like such an arduous pilgrimage. My sister was already whimpering, after having read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe a fortnight before. I squeezed her hand, assuring her there were no mysterious lands behind the wardrobe of a semi-detached house in South Birmingham in this world of 2020.
We felt around for the typewriter. I found it first, fingers landing on a smooth block with small circular keys on them. We both whispered in glee! I mustered the strength to lift the hefty device, standing opposite each other so that we could share its weight evenly. Swimming yet again through the haze of mum’s cotton, synthetic and woollen fabrics, we finally reached the wardrobe’s open door, the typewriter held tight in our hands. I stepped out first, then my sister, resting the typewriter gently on the tattered carpet below.
We gazed at the typewriter in all its glory. It had a gentle glimmer to it, although one could tell, it had lived through many moons. Suddenly, something caught my eye. Six of the letters on the keys were completely rubbed off, almost as if etched away by clammy fingers revisiting them too often. My eyes scanned over the keys. I had always been good in anagrams. I rearranged the alphabets, till they spelt a name.
My father’s.