Goodbyes and Good Riddance

It's an odd feeling to go through your already small room and get rid of everything you have stacked up and stored away for 27 years. First go the clothes and books that you don't find absolutely necessary. Then with a little more anxiety, the clothes and books that do seem necessary. Next go the toiletries you won't use, but still feel are wrongly labelled as trash because they could be used, someday. With "necessity" and "someday" now in ever growing garbage bags, you move to the furniture. Easier to part with beds and dressers emotionally, but by sheer volume they make themselves troublesome. Two stops at two different second-hand stores later and you are left with the unexpected layer, sentimentality.

You neither need nor want the raging letter correspondence of Summer 2006, the countless mixed tapes, or the ridiculous photos trapped in happily-ever-after. But there they seem to be, at the bottom of every drawer, box and folder. You put them off, instead going through and throwing out tax returns, pay stubs from 2005 and old term papers on Keats and gender. Soon your possessions, your life work of 27 years, fit hap-hazardly into five pregnant trash bags. They flank the walls of your room like an overweight audience, waiting to see if you have the strength to continue. You are at the center of your room, surrounded by a tornado of papers that should be meaningless. It is now that you decide the importance of life change.

Here is my advice to you: Start with the best relationship first. As you hold a book of poetry or a favorite letter in your hand, think about the long and messy break-up or ever approaching wedding. When you land on a particularly grand and happy picture, think of the late night fights and all the times you were made to cry. Then let them go with the memories into a trash bag that looks like all the others. With the best of the worse times out of the way, the rest of the relationships slip from your fingers. Before you know it, pictures and promises and every lie you believed as true is in that trash bag and ready to be gone forever. Grab the red ties, cinch the bag closed and rid yourself of the burden of a thousand heartbreaks. As you cry from exhaustion and emotion, feel the growing strength of a you crawling from the rubble, still in one piece in spite of this lonely journey. Be that strong and dust covered you and clear your throat with a Nalgene full of water.

Grab your backpack, start the car. With the steering wheel in one hand and your prayer rope in the other, let the yellow lines wash over you in three foot sections, increasing speed with your speed until they blur to something consistent, constant. As your direction veers south and you drive, perhaps for good and perhaps still crying, feel the cool wind finger your unfettered hair and drink down the freedom of the darkening night sky.

1 comment:

Thea Swanson said...

Oh, Katie. That was a palpable goodbye. I miss you more now.

Love you.