Saturday greeted me with a little sun nudging through the blinds, urging me to get out of bed. “Seriously,” the sun persisted… “it’s almost noon. “ Fine, sun. You win. I am up.
Rarely do I wake up on my own, without an alarm, or a sneaky snuggler jumping into bed with me to share covers. On these rare occasions, I display no urgency when the sun greets me and fills my room with the light of a new day. To add to my resistance, Saturday was “closet day.” A day I had planned to unpack the endless plastic tubs and re-pack the organized items into my very own wooden trunk. A Christmas gift from my mother and her new husband.
Sounds harmless enough… except the contents of those bins were full of haunts and memories and things that were deliberately stuffed in there, thrown in there, banished to there… and now I’m opening the lids.
And digging inside.
An unpleasant side effect of a marital separation? Things begin to take on new meaning and new emotion and their original glory and beauty is lost. Slaughtered even, if the pain is strong enough.
Things are really innocent bystanders to it all… one day they are precious. The next …strewn across the pavement outside the balcony. Ripped to shreds. On fire. Drowned. Suffocating in plastic bins… which is where the “things” that survived the other mutilation attempts have resided for nearly two years now. Wow. Two years. Never thought I would be the one getting divorced, not to mention, two years into my new “non-wife” life. Yet here we are. The sun nudging me, the closet patiently waiting. The “things” crying for attention.
Like any marital separation, mine has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. Much like the relationship that preceded it. Things were in those bins for a reason. I could not see them. Look at them. Touch them. Be near them. Or the downward part of the ride – spinning spiral that takes you upside down, around plummeting towards the earth would overcome me.
Today Great Bravery, my friend in times like this, was set to come to the rescue… bravery that I bribed to show itself with a nice english breakfast tea and toast.
The bribe worked. Great Bravery aggressively went for the kill- the first lid to come off revealed all that was left of my marriage, materially at least. A few photo albums. Cards and letters written over the years. Honeymoon memorabilia. More wedding photos…
I took my normal long, deep, intentional “you are not going to fall apart… oh who are we kidding, yes you are!” breath, closed my eyes and waited. The absence of pain was startling. I flipped through photos, I read a few cards. I held and admired a vase from our honeymoon. I sat in my victorious moment. Sitting amongst my “things” in my closet, basking in the glory of triumph. I may have even smiled (?!?!).
Riding on this thrilling wave, Great Bravery and I ripped into the bin below this enlightening one and there it was. Packaged away in the same bag it came to me in. The Dress i had said “yes” to.
Why do we tie so much weight and value on these “things?”
Why is it that The Dress so strongly resembles a ghost?
White(ish) and dead(ish) and cold… It has haunted me now for nearly two years. “Not today,” said Great Bravery. “Not today.”
I contemplated what my plan of action would be. As I have done many times in the past. I could never make a decision on what to do about The Dress after I was done wearing it and reluctantly managed to peel it off of me that fateful night. And I still can’t figure it out. As my brain went to thinking and plotting and scheming, Great Bravery unzipped the bag and took control of the situation.
All the possibilities my brain had conjured up- donating, selling, leaving in the bin, burning, feeding to pigs… were dismissed by Great Bravery. Suddenly, as if I knew the answer all along, it was perfectly clear that I could not get rid of The Dress. Right here, right now, in my arms, it is a beautiful piece of me. And this moment- me holding The Dress and feeling ok- feeling happy about how beautiful it was and the love my life has experienced in connection to it… makes it…invaluable.
Great Bravery: “I’ll put it in the attic!”
Brain: “What about you know… things that live in the attic? This is not what I would call good protection.”
Great Bravery: “You’re right. We need to seal it off, protect it! Vacuum bags! A tight seal. Let’s go to the store! Now!”
Brain: “Fine. You are exhausting but you have a point. I give in.”
Two hours and $15 on extra large vacuum bags later…
Brain: (envision condescending “I told you so!” tone) Gently taps foot and purses lips at Great Bravery.
Great Bravery: (envision horrified expression and frantic tone) “This can’t be good… this can’t be right.. it looks so pathetic! So decrepit! Not at all beautiful! The Dress- are you in pain in there?”
Brain: “You idiot. Why must you be so impulsive? Now I have a mess to clean up… Google- should we have vacuum sealed The Dress?”
Google: “WORST IDEA EVER!”
Brain: “Figured. Let’s start pricing cleaning and preservation now!”
Great Bravery: “I apologize. I blame myself, mostly. For being out of commission for so many years.”
Brain: “I blame you too. We need about $200 to save The Dress. But glad to have you back.”
The Dress is a beautiful piece of who I have become and it deserves the ridiculous cleaning fee and preservation (which cost more than the dress itself), to take it’s place in my trunk. It’s new friends- Snuffy- my childhood polar bear, 50 lbs of journals and essays, the most improved bowling trophy I won in high school, my cap and gown and many more will patiently wait for The Dress to arrive to share the space. The vacuum seal bags will go back to the store. And I will be at peace, having said yes to my past, yes to my future, and yes to The Dress.