Monday, December 13, 2010

What's in the middle drawer?

"Faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases; tickets torn in half--memories in bits and pieces."--the Classics IV.

I'm not a Classics IV fan, but that's one of their better songs.  And of course, it's pertinent. 

I really thought I was moving on from the past, letting go of it.  I thought one of the reasons I'm moving to Vancouver is because I just wanted to get the heck away from the remnants of my past.  I went home to visit my parents, and while there, they suggested I go through my old drawer and sort out what I did and did not mind my niece and nephews, who often spend the night at their house, "borrowing" from me.  So I proceeded to do so.  A good portion of it I could throw away, like old notes or nicknacks from my college days.  Some of it I had to keep, such as returned checks and bank statements.  But a lot of it ended up being of sentimental value.

I found an old alabaster white elephant.  The trunk had broken off before I moved out of my parents' place, and now a leg is broken courtesy of the kids of my sister.  I also found parts of an old music box.  The housing for the actual musical mechanism is ceramic, I believe, and shaped like an upright piano.  Had three parts: a stool, an upper part where the mechanism actually is, and a lower, hollow part for what would be the pedals and upright support.  The stool is still intact, the bottom piece is completely broken and missing.  The upper shell is cracked.  The clockwork mechanism is missing and stopped working years ago.  The tune it played, by the way, I don't know the name of it, but it sounds very much like that crazy tune they play in "The Addams Family" when Gomez and Fester go down to the vault for this first time.... only done in a pretty, music box style.  These are two of the four things I still have to remind me of my maternal grandparents.  They let me have the elephant and the music box when we moved them out of their home and into a nursing home.  (The other two items are a picture of them that's still in a frame, and a sleeping bag they gave me one Christmas that used to be on my bed even after I moved out... but now I believe is packed away somewhere.)

I found my old Cadets scarf and slide.... Cadets is my denomination's version of the Boy Scouts.  The scarf and slide were part of the uniform.

My old "president trading cards".... many years ago, Little Debbie's tried to promote education by making trading cards of the U.S. Presidents.  I had the complete set way back when.  Now, I'm missing McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, and I think there were cards for HW Bush and maybe Clinton... but I only have through Reagan.

And then I found a bunch of senior pictures of classmates.  A lot of the girls I had a crush on mainly (hey, I was a lonely teenage boy, I had a crush on about 80% of the girls I was in school with).  Brought back some memories.  Then I decided to leaf through an old yearbook I'd found laying around.

*smacks forehead repeatedly*  Idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot!

Oh the faces... saw the picture of a girl who was my first kiss.  She went to another elementary school in our district had been held back a grade, and moved away a couple years after the year of the yearbook I was flipping through.  Old classmates came back to haunt me, people I'd treated like crap, people that treated me like crap.  Wow.  Didn't think it'd evoke such an emotional reaction from me, but there was a lot of anger, remorse, affection, and humor resurrected within me. 

I thought it was over, that I was done with it.  But the past never truly goes away.  Oh it passes, sometimes like a stone, but it's never gone.  The Law Of Conservation of Memories... while they can be created (unlike matter or energy), they can never be destroyed, except perhaps by amnesia or Alzheimer's.  Buried, twisted, perverted, warped, yes... but never destroyed.

So my woman's gonna have to accept that when I come to BC to be with her, it won't be a clean slate.  Mostly erased, but silhouettes of past lessons and specks of chalk once used to express ideas and concepts will still be on that slate, and they always will be.  There's still room for her to write, but the slate will never be clean.

Maybe that's what getting over it is: rather than burying it, it's trying to find ways to keep writing on that slate as it progresses, because it's the only slate you're gonna get.

And for all that, I actually feel the most healed I've felt in awhile by actually going through it, and putting all that important stuff in the middle drawer of my old dresser.  And telling the niece and nephews not to touch anything in there unless they ask me first, the brats.

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