Maybe because it's spring time or maybe because I am constantly trying to get and remain organized or maybe because Mike wasn't coming home, I took on a project that I wasn't sure how many different emotions would ensue: the project of going through, sorting, and discarding memorabilia.
In folders of various shapes and colors that have traveled with me throughout the years and in binders and albums in a locked antique trunk live photos, letters, cards, ticket stubs, etc. in no discernible order of a past life - a life seldom recognizable.
I grabbed it all - the folders, the photos and planted myself at the coffee table determined not to stop until it was all sorted and ready to lock up again.
I started with the photos and sorted them into pictures of me that I could not link to anything other than a pleasant memory. I considered them my independent photos and smiled as I looked at them. Just me. I stand alone.
There were family photos, sorted those, photos of Mike and I, old old old friends, current friends. They were sorted in neat little photo folders I purchased before beginning this project. The photos were funny because there weren't many current ones. Obviously because all my photos now live on my computer.
Greeting cards: my goodness were there greeting cards! I am pleased to note that about 65% were from my momma. I will always keep those cards as long as I live. I was also surprised and a little annoyed to see how many people don't date their cards. My oldest brother is guilty here but I can't blame him. There were only three cards from my other brother, one of which wasn't even addressed let alone signed! I kept it because I remember thinking how typical of Joey it was and it makes me laugh to this day!
Speaking of my brothers, I came across letters and cards my brother and sister-in-law sent for no reason but to say hello and to remind me that I'm in their hearts without saying so. There was one letter - just a hello how ya doing type thing with clippings from the newspaper about Lisa Anderson that Doug sent me when he was living in North Carolina during my "I want to be a pro surfer" phase. I wonder if it meant as much to me then as it does now.
All the boyfriend stuff was casually swept to the side while I got through the good stuff.
I found letters and cards from my nemesi. (My plural version for nemeses) I got angry and found it funny at the same time how they used to pledge their undying love for me. There was lots of I wish I was as smart as you and Do you have any idea how beautiful you are and I'll always be there for you and so on and on and on. I again considered writing one of them a letter. The one I visited two Christmases ago. I hear she's not doing too well. The purpose could be two fold - to show I'm a still good person and can reach out to her after all the God awful things she put me through AND to mildly brag about how great I'm doing. It would be brilliant!!
Moving on here. I have to get through this.
The boyfriends. Lots and lots of photos were ripped up. I made piles; each one having a name, and sorted memories like m&m's.
Two piles were particularly painful.
One, the largest one, was not for the reasons you may think. My time with A.B. was the happiest days of my entire life. I do mean that. But let me explain. I am so happy today with Mike but it's a mature happiness - the one that contains bills and rent and is overloaded with worry and responsibility. The happiest time in my life was comprised of friends I never thought I could call my own, a crazy whirlwind love, late drinking nights, singing songs at the top of our lungs with the jeep roof down on a summer day, living rent-free, watching John Cusack movies in our pajamas eating cereal, playing improv acting games at three in the morning, playing Asshole in rundown Philly apartments, and dangling our feet off fire escapes ten stories up.
It just doesn't compare. I miss my friends from that time immensely. They all live within ten minutes of where I live now as far as I know and they may as well be in Timbuktu. I fucked this one up. Real bad. And it still hurts. Real bad.
Going through all this stuff was so weird but there was one constant underlying thought. All these people are gone. How awful we, as people, can share such intimacy, secrets, oaths of undying love and then one day just become some letter tucked under someone's bed for a decade and then get discarded altogether. I do believe, I have to believe, that there are letters written by me and photos of me tucked away somewhere by someone I meant the world to if only for a second.
I saved the worst for last and was surprised how really bad it was not. But my dreams were. K.F. destroyed me and robbed me of the last of my innocence. I'll never love as blindly as I did then. (I feel like John Cusack in High Fidelity here.)
That stuff got tucked away and then tucked away again in something bigger. It wasn't so bad and it felt good. There was very little to tuck away in the first place. But he was in my dreams all night in short little scenes. He was the same to me as he was in reality - mean, short tempered. And I was the same in my dream as I was in my past with him - hanging on every word, constantly holding my breath and forever SCARED.
It was a bad night to say the least. The fog took a while to wear off too. But he knows how awful he was to me and I do take an ounce of comfort in that.
Before I wrap this up I just want to say that wish I could apologize, or rather, I wish I had one chance with so many people just so that we could end things of an even or good note. Even a hello, how are you? Really, that sounds great! You take care of yourself now would be better than having these awful memories of how things went down and last conversations. I hate loose strings. I hate all these final notes and wish they weren't final.
But they are in so many cases.
I am pleased to finish with the Mike and Jessica folder. That folder did not get locked away and I hope will never get sealed. We will continue to add to it and make a lifetime worth of memories.
P.S. One item I found that made me actually go "Holy shit!" summed up a good two and a half years of my life. Two and a half years of laughs, MANY MANY faces, and heavy drinking- my Jose Tejas waiters book - band stickers and everything! Damn that's one hell of a memory. I'm so glad I kept it!