Living in a time capsule is my daily reality. I’ve made paths around the house that are, as my friend Kyle calls them, pig trails. If I wander too far off those pig trails I hit the past. But lately when I do, the past doesn’t hurt quite so much anymore, or maybe I’ve nurtured nostalgia to replace the pain. Nurtured/ developed/ replaced/ inserted/ forced/ whatever…. It just doesn’t hurt as much these days. Discoveries around the house that used to drive flaming spikes into my heart now just give me pause and stir memories. Pick a landmine: Maggie’s bathroom stuff, Maggie’s wig, our wedding rings neatly laid out, the clothes she wore for our last supper out (still laying basically where she put them), her cute jacket she last tossed over her office chair, the bookmark she put in a book she was reading, her hand print in the mirror*. I miss my wife so, so, so much but the energy of these things that I live with, these little emotional bombs, is dispersing with time.
* Yeah, her perfectly clear hand print in the mirror just above her sink. I look at it, even sometimes say hi to it, every single morning. The morning sun lights it up at the perfect angle like it was orchestrated by some master overseer of What Was. I’m fairly certain I know the exact moment when that hand print was placed on that mirror. It was a special moment, one of our last. I’ve put my hand up to that hand print maybe 500 times since, well, since It happened. I fear that one day some housekeeper might clean that mirror. I fear, too, that they won’t. I wish that I had the skill to capture it somehow in a photograph.
It’s just unfathomable to me to imagine her side of the closet empty. I really can’t imagine it. But I’ve been practicing. Knowing that it’s going to happen one day and knowing that it’s a tough climb to get there, I’ve been preparing. I can’t say I’m there yet. Heh, that’s kind of like saying “Ok, I’m ready to be shot at by someone who wants to kill me.” I’m pretty sure that until that bullet says “Hi, how ya doin’?” as it flies by your head you have no clue as to how you are going to react. Well, the sight of that empty closet may well put a hurt on me I didn’t expect. But the fear of bullets doesn’t stop the cadet from marching out and fighting for what they believe in. And that fear isn’t going to stop me from… well, ok, maybe it is. For now. But slowly I’m chipping away at What Was so I can carve out What Is. For now, that full closet full of cloth-memories sure is familiar. It’s my tether to What Was. I guess I’m not quite ready to let that go. I think I’m pretty clear that I’m still afraid of bullets.