The thing about living is that life accumulates stuff. We gather the momentoes of youth, adulthood and old age, of accomplishment, of love and of sorrow. During the course of my short life, I have accumulated stuff that let me raise children, care for my family and friends. I have accumulated the keepsakes of summer fun & winter solitude. I have accumulated the trophies of family love, friendly love and romance. I also have the badges of loves lost.
When it is sitting around you everyday, the stuff begs to be sorted out and pared away... the gold from the dross. It never seems urgent to do so. There is always another day to sort through the past while you are living in the present, collecting more stuff. Then there is moving day. All of your stuff is sitting there wondering where it will go. And you are sure it won't all fit where ever you end up next. So you start the process... again.
This time around, I have more trophies and more badges than I have ever had in my life. As I seperate the wheat from the chaff, keeping the essential art tools, my friends in the books that I own and the tools of hospitality that I yearn to employ someday soon... I have broken the cardinal rule of packing. If you know the box to have belonged to Pandora and you are under a deadline... don't open it.
Pandora's box is full of letters. I have only a few days left to line up my poop so that my sister doesn't flush it for me. I know that box is full of dangerous, heart stopping poison. It is in the ink of a familiar hand that once was all balms and tonics for the sorrows of a different time. There are a few strays that once resided between the pages of a book or a magazine. They pop out at inopportune times, dripping their sentimentality, scorching skin and soul. The letter tucked into a box of random items was one such scorcher. I've kept the box because I need to go through it. Someday the sentiment won't kill me. Someday I will look through it and see the me that he saw. I will want to know that someone loved me with the kind of passion that makes your heart stop in a good way. Someday, I will believe what I read. The problem is... this isn't that someday.
The letter, drizzled with this signature ink color, in that handwriting that heralded an afternoon's entertainment full of art, ideas, plans for the future and the promise of sensual dreams fulfilled. It was like so many other letters over the course of our four year relationship. This one was dated a mere four weeks before the unexpected implosion.
It began in the same way: "Good morning Sunshine, how is my Dodi today?" And after the discussion of our respective projects, the requests for assisstance in difficulty, the shared dreaming of a future that would go on forever it ended the same way that the other letters had ended before. "You make me happy. Your laughter and smiles brighten the darkest of my days. I miss our time together and I an not wait to get back to your loving arms, to make art with you in the studio to build our future ..."
And in a months time, he stood in the mirror of the vanity, adjusting his tie while explaining to me that after his job interview he was going to stop by her work place and see if she would take him back. You see, he thought about it a lot. And, in his words, as indelible as the ink in his letters, he told me "I'd go back in a heartbeat, without a second thought, if she would have me back."
Total eclipse of the heart.
My heart is in that box with his letters. I knew it was. So why did I open that box? Why did Cleopatra stick her hand in the basket when she knew the Asp was in it? What made me think I was ready to be someone's Dodi again? Hope or desperation? I don't know. I only know that you don't open the box to the past when you have three days left to move.