And Then She Hit Me With The Frying Pan
The boxes. So many, many boxes. Still more boxes. Boxes within boxes holding long forgotten surprises nestled like Russian matryoshka dolls inside of envelopes, inside of folders, inside of shoe boxes, inside of larger boxes, hidden away in the depths of a storage locker like the Ark Of The Covenant in some U.S. Government warehouse. Things that sneak up when you're not looking and rabbit punch you in the kidneys, that melt your face off when you stare into their depths.
Everybody has at least one of these boxes within which resides the reliquery of a past life. The tiny bits of surviving detritous that somehow manages to cling to us like sweater lint through a lifetime of packing, sorting, downsizing, moving. The old photographs, the letters, the journal entries, the reminders of lost loves, of forgotten friendships, of barely recalled events, all of the contact points between your life and other people's, cold-case evidence of someone going left when you went right, when two joined threads diverged to create new spokes in an infinitely huge spiderweb of collective experience. Thin bone fragments of your life that have been carefully preserved, though yellowed and faded with time, and smoothed like river stones to a dull finish in your mind.
The thing about all these little pieces of history is that at one time pulling them out of their paper cocoons and holding their butterfly thin pages up to the light would have been a risky proposition. There used to be a lot of pain, sadness and regret attached to them, psychic echoes of missed opportunities, hasty decisions, spurned offers. But memory is a funny and wonderful thing; I can now look at quite a few of these things and remember the sensation of physical discomfort they once might have caused me, but the pain itself is absent. Somehow over time, they've lost their power; now the blows are weak and have no effect.
And there's a part of me that sort of feels bad about that. Because when the memory of the pain has dulled, it means the memory itself has been corrupted, dilluted, and become inert. It's not that I want to wallow in the past, especially with memories that obviously are personally traumatic, and surely this means their influence has equally waned, which means the emotional knap sack has been lightened somewhat along the trail, but the main reason we hold onto this ephemera is that they are a reminder that sometimes even pain is precious.
Still, there's something hopeful about being able to look at things that once caused pain, but now don't.
Maybe it means there's some room inside again for happiness to take its place.
on 11:15 AM