Tonight, I went through the box of memorabilia from my last significant relationship. As anyone who is reading this can guess, it was a combination of sad and “why did I save even the parking receipts?” Considering the final break was a little over two years ago and it’s taken me this long to go through one small box of debris, getting through the box in a single night is like cooking with gas.
The pictures were the worst. I forgot that I’d stashed them all in that box when I ripped them off the refrigerator and out of their frames, and seeing them again was…well, not joyful. I recently heard from my ex that he’s dating someone consistently, but that surely can’t be the reason I finally went through all that old wrapping paper, parking receipts, movie tickets, cards, programs, and other assorted scraps of memories, can it?
I pitched a lot of it, and it was kind of cathartic, but I’ll probably always feel a certain amount of sorrow about the loss of that relationship. I’m glad he’s found someone he can start over with, someone new, who didn’t go through the terrible, shitty things we went through. Someone who will know him as he is now, more relaxed and content, someone who doesn’t have all the baggage we have, and hopefully never will.
It surprises me, sometimes, that I’m as nostalgic as I am. Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise, given all the moving and loss and endings in my childhood. I still have a few boxes of things from when I was a kid, carried around with me all these years. Stacks of old posters, a box of dolls and toys, trinkets, jewelry boxes, nic nacs, comic books, and all the other stuff I accumulated before I left home. It’s surprising how little there is, given 18 years of living with so much stuff never unpacked, but I’ve whittled it down as far as I can, even if I never look at most of it ever again.
There’s something comforting about having those physical reminders of long-gone years, tangible evidence of the girl I was, how I felt and what caught my eye. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel quite the same about the black cardboard box of programs and photos, they carry more complex flavors, and subtle nuances of feeling and thought. Maybe time will crumple those pages too, soften the paper and dull the colors. Perhaps the padding of years means they will age well, and keep their place with all those posters of a gorgeous, young David Lee Roth.