Memory is often less about the truth than about what we want it to be.

30 Nov

It’s all in one corner.

I spent my day off cleaning my spare room, what used to be “his” room, another emblem in the constant unbalanced act that was our marriage. His ROOM, compared with my desk crammed in a corner of the bedroom. HIS space. A wall against me, wielded as a sword or at the very least, as a silencer.

Since he left in January, since the day we moved into this house together, 6 years back from now, this last pile of crap sat in the corner, growing dust. I let it stay, and let it stay, and mentioned it, and got bitched at, and mentioned it again and told I’m a naggy bitch and it’s his house too.

But it’s never been his house. It never was, and it never could be. These bricks, this mortar, the shitty crumbling walls and the 6 layers of paint on the sills-they’re mine. The dreams I cooked while a child rested under my heart. The places we’d go, the people we’d be, knotted into these walls. But he never fit, instead cramped into a room full of dusty boxes of words and songs from a lifetime ago. He wasn’t here, in this place.

I sit where he spent nights away from me. But now the floor is clean, subdued, my books and words surround me. I sat and threw out the memories I had kept, the candy boxes from that first year together, a time that wafted around us and disappeared like smoke on our tongues. Held in my hand briefly , cradled, but no magic was left in that cardboard. No pain, no pull.

A sigh. The closing of a book, heard from a distance.

Piled neatly it all waits, his last moments in my life, foreign as jungle to me now, the he who was.

***

It gives me such a headache, all of it.

The breaking free of each other has been easy. He pulled away years before leaving, leaving me the defective, the dreamer. I wanted family, I wanted the car ride through the woods, the hot cider after skating. Arguments about paint colors and curry. I wanted a home and a story to carry.

But the detritus of married life, the mortgage and the credit and the custody-the tethers you still are indebted too even after, the choices which aren’t so simple anymore. The staggering weight of alone, after days and years of at least believing you were in it together. The bills, the planning, the dentist and the vet. All such things you once spoke of, together, the commonality in the banal.

It whispers at night to me, the protection that marriage pretended at. Shakes me awake with the reminder that doing it alone together was worse than trying by myself. The deep night hugs me to it, alone in a too big bed, embers of a life where alone meant wondering at 4am if he might ever come to bed. A mortgage paid in brick, stolen in storm and fear.

I crave simple answers. I crave a bare wood floor of nothing, walls of stark grey, a quiet porch in a summer wind. I want to pack it all up in a corner, this house, this dream, this life, and leave it for someone else’s hands. I want the newness, a memory built fresh in bare walls and strong arms. I want better.

I’m starting over, but patience has never been my strong point. If I had my way, that past would be folded crane like into my palms, and tucked in the corner of an old moving box, kissed on the road out the door.

I would be clean of it, 3 times over.

***

I might sigh heavily and say I regret it, all of it. I might mourn the 20 something I never really was, the wife I couldn’t be, the woman I only dreamed of. I might blame him, I might blame myself. I might say I don’t believe in second chances.

But I’d be lying. I’d be lying if I didn’t still believe, oddly, that this was still always the right road after all.

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16 Responses to “Memory is often less about the truth than about what we want it to be.”

  1. flutter December 1, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    this post is absolute perfection

    • Wishing well December 1, 2010 at 7:49 am #

      I think somewhere amongst those words lies all of us!!

  2. Jason Dufair December 1, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    “The commonality in the banal.” That really sums it up, doesn’t it? That was the first thing I missed when Anna was gone. The shared chuckle at the butt crack showing when Ian’s swim trunks were falling down at the pool.

    Here’s to second chances. They mean everything.

  3. Natalie December 1, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    I’m glad you don’t regret it….even after the fact. Trust yourself about choices….look at the amazing things in your life RIGHT NOW….you are good, and smart and beautiful.

    A friend recently texted me from the GoTrain while she was spying on a young couple who seemed to have no bigger worries in life than to share a pair of ear buds and giggle together…and she asked me “where does it all go”.

    I think you answered it….it gets lost in the commonality of the banal. To a certain extent, it gets lost for everyone. No one has weekends of country drives and hot apple cider without also having dentist appointments and arguments about plumbing.

    But where does one flow into the other…where do the edges blur? How does one take over the other? How do we let it?

    I’m not sure what the answer is…or what turns you need to make on the road to ensure individual survival within a marriage…but I am glad that I am not the only one who asks myself these questions.

    xox
    I am glad that you are reclaiming this space for yourself.

  4. Elly Lou December 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    That was…magical. Beautiful. And made me grateful.

    I’m new here, and a little hesitant to say anything. But that was too lovely not to compliment.

    • thordora December 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

      Worry pas. I only abuse the regulars.

      Your time will come. 😀

      (and thanks. 😉 )

  5. slouchy December 1, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    this is exactly right.

    and beautiful.

  6. Jennifer December 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    You’re nicer than me. I’d let the crows make a nest of it out in the back yard.

    That said, you know my own history with the crazy parents, my crazier youth…all the crap that went with it.

    But I wouldn’t change it. I of course mourn not having a normal childhood or loving parents. But the experience made me who I am. One day I shall do great things with all these life lessons.

  7. hodgepodge December 1, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Yeah, agree. I wouldn’t just be positioning it neatly next to the window. I would have chucked it. Guess I have anger issues. 🙂

    In our house, we call the commonality of the banal “The Business of Running the Family” (TM). Your phrase is so much more lyrical.

  8. sweetsalty kate December 1, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    I’m glad you don’t regret. He was a teacher. It was important, every moment you spent. It all makes you into who you are, and this is never anything but worthy. xo

  9. michelle999 December 4, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    wow wonderful writing – you should write a book xxx

    • Wishing well December 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

      Told you it was good Michelle….you just want to bottle it…..God it was so my previous life!!

      I would buy the book…..

  10. thordora December 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    You all rule.

    That is all. 😀

    (and kate, I have now had whoopie pies, and expect homemade from you in the new year when we all meet up. Just sayin. :P)

  11. bikerchick December 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    Longtime reader; seldom commenter here. Had to pop in to let you know how beautiful and right that piece is. I am in awe of your mad observation/feeling/writing skilz! Brava!

  12. autism custody battles December 27, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    “I’m starting over, but patience has never been my strong point.” Exactly my sentiment.

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