Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Two Hearts

Moving, moving, moving.  She felt like she was always moving.  She was tired of it, and tired of dragging around so much stuff with her.  Kneeling down on the hard floor she groped around under the bed until she felt what she was looking for.  Hidden deep in that dark abyss, behind empty boxes, a missing shoe and a few stray pieces of paper.  She pulled the heavy black bag, tugging as it caught on the underside of the bed.  It was a little overstuffed, but she’d never been willing to expand beyond one bag.

These were her ‘mementos,’ discarded remnants of relationships long past.  No use in keeping them anymore.  She wasn’t moving all the way across the country to hold onto this baggage, physically or emotionally.  She probably should have just thrown the whole bag into the trash, but the sentimental never let go that easily.

Making herself as comfortable as the wood floor would allow, she sat down next to the large box that had become the garbage, already full of the crazy odds and ends one finds when packing up their life.  And in the mist of all the other packing, she began to unpack.  Unpack the bag and unpack the corners of her memory, corners she had purposely allowed the cobwebs to cover.

A hair brush from a guy she sort of dated in college, a t-shirt from some frat boy, a framed sketch, all sorts of random things that have use only as sentimental objects.  The trash, the pile for Good-Will, the recycling bin, the different items were distributed as appropriate.  Lingerie that was never worn, birthday cards, printouts of long im conversations.  Some of it seemed downright ridiculous to still be in her possession.

Then she pulled out a small ball of tissue paper.  Confusion crossed her face.  What could this be?  She began to unwrap it.  Sharp edges protruded from the tissue, yet there was a solid circular feel to it.  She knew exactly what it was.

Her 17th birthday.  Her boyfriend, her first boyfriend, had given it to her as a present.  A small clear crystal heart, the tip perched on this circular base with swirls of clear crystal and a pink rose, two birds had sat together on one of the heart’s round humps.  She remembered unwrapping it, sitting in the passenger seat of the car in a parking lot.  She remembered wishing it was her 16th instead of her 17th birthday because then it would somehow be more special.  And she remembered what happened to that gift.

It was a little thing at first, a crack, or maybe one of the birds fell off.  Some sort of damage to the structural integrity of the gift.  That week, they got in a fight.  Then, things were getting better, they were patching it up, they were working on it and moving forward.  At least she thought so.  Until she was trying to adjust something on the bed and knocked the gift off her night stand.  In broke into many, many pieces.  The next week, the relationship ended.  For good.  He moved.  She went on.

Many months later, she came across the broken pieces of the gift, which she had gathered together and kept in her desk drawer.  It really was such a pretty present.  Why not try to put it back together again?  She took a small tube of super glue and attached the first piece back onto the circular base.  The next day, she ran into his best friend.

She glued on a few more pieces.  She saw his car when she was driving in her neighborhood.  Soon the whole thing was glued back together, minus the tiny slivers that had not been salvageable.  She ran into him in public.  They agreed to meet.  It was late, a 24 hour restaurant.  They sat across from each other.  The conversation was stilted.  It was clear it was too soon to be here, too soon to talk.  It was clear this was not going to come back.  She went home.  The glue gave out, the pieces of the gift fell in on each other, a small pile of fragmented crystal on the base of swirls with the pink rose.

The remaining circular base sat in her hand.  The power of the crystal, as she had started to think of it in that wild imagination of youth, was gone.  With only that circular base left, the gift had no magic left in it.  She had thrown out the pieces long ago, but the base had been tucked inside this bag, wrapped in tissue, waiting.  Waiting for what?  She had no idea.  Waiting for this she guessed, waiting to be put out with all the other pain held in that bag.  Waiting to become part of the trash heap that represented moving away and moving on from so many things.

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