Imprinted

On the walkway outside my door is this shoe print.  Over the months, I’ve passed by it hundreds of times, whether it’s to slide inside my car to drive to work or stepping over it to carrying out the trash to the curb.  It used to make me smile, this insignificant print, knowing what it meant to me –  until the day  he left.  Of course, it’s HIS shoe print.  Suddenly, its meaning changed.  It was mocking me,  needling me, another little daily reminder not allowing me to move on.  I waited patiently  for the first rains of Spring to rid me of this remnant of him.  Finally, the rains poured down for days, rinsing the dusty trees and the roofs and clogging the streets  with winter muck and leaves.  The sun finally came out and dried up my neighborhood – and, to my amazement and disappointment,  the print was still there.  There have been half a dozen rain storms since he left, and after each one, I step out of the house, glancing at the ground,  hopeful that this last downpour will be the one that wipes the print, and another piece of my memory of him, away. Each of these mornings dash my hopes – I find it still there.

A friend asked, “is it pointing towards the house or away.”  Frankly, I never noticed.  I looked the other day – the answer is “away”. He was walking away.

This weekend, I grew tired of waiting for nature to help me get over him.  My mind has Wellbutrin and my pantry has Simple Green.  So…

and then…

There’s a scrub brush swirl where the print once was. Maybe someday I will have to remove that, too. But for now, this was enough.

Days since I’ve contacted my ex:  53

Days since I’ve searched for my ex: 5

What I am grateful for:  a life where I can take a Saturday afternoon nap.

Advertisements

Packing

Last night, I brought home a heavy cardboard box from work.  In its previous life, it contained the new fuser drum for our copier.  I placed the box on the bare wooden floor of my living room and folded back the flaps so I could peer into the emptiness inside.  On the bottom of the box, I placed Sunday’s old newspaper, carefully folding it to fit snuggly into each corner.  On top of the newspaper, I placed my ex boyfriend, bending his arms and legs as needed to fit.  Around him, I stuffed in our memories.  I fit in the Sigg bottle we used on our second and third dates to surreptitiously drink wine, I added his England sweatshirt he let me borrow, the sweater he gave me at Christmas and my favorite photo of us that sat proudly in my office for over a year.  I squeezed in the dim sum we enjoyed on Sundays, the night I gave him a shower after his sweaty show and his tennis shoe print that is still on my driveway – even after all of this rain.  I folded in his personal ad and poured in his morning smell, as well as our first kiss in the bar, the day he taught me to fly fish, and all the tears I’ve cried these past two months.  I packed it all in until the sides of the box bulged. I folded the flaps down and pushed them together with my knees as tight as I could as I taped the box closed.  One long strip of tape across the length of the box and thee across the other way ensured it was sealed.  I smoothed the tape firmly with my hands and marked the box with a thick sharpie with the word “PAST”.  I wrote the word in large block letters on the top and all four sides.  I lifted the box, heavier than I expected, and took it into the garage.  By stepping on an old chair, I was able to hoist it into the rafters, but I could still see the word “PAST” on the box from my vantage point on the chair.  I grabbed the broom leaning on the wall and used the broom handle to push the box farther and farther back, as far as the broom would reach with me outstretched and on my very tippy toes.  I pushed the box back into the dark corner of the rafters with the thick layers of dust, the black widow webs and the big brown cockroach nests until I could barely see the tip of the box’s corner.  I stepped down from the chair, placed the broom back against the wall, turned off the garage light, locked the door and washed my hands in the kitchen sink.  It would soon be forgotten there.

Childhood Memories

from pul.se

He glared at me filled with bitter rage, His 6’1” hulk towered over my child’s frame.  “Goddammit, you’re going to ride that bike and I don’t want to see you again for at least an hour.”

We were visiting my parent’s friends, Bob and Sarah, in Cedar City.  My brothers and sisters were old enough to stay home and bow out of this trip.  I was only 10 or 11 and had to go with them.  I was alone with my parents.

Bob, an older, retired man, realized I was most likely bored moping around their house while the adults sat around the kitchen table, catching up.  He offered me use of an old bike.  Scared of being a bother, I declined the first two times he brought it up.  By day five, however, I was going stir crazy and asked if he minded my using it.

I shrunk in horror when I realized the bike was located in the far recessed corner of the shed. “No, no,” I wanted to shout, “Nevermind, please, its okay.” Bob moved the mower out of the shed, rearranged the aluminum lawn chairs and wrestled the bike to the grass with a clatter.  My father looked on.

As soon as he set the bike down, I knew I was over my head.  It was a dusty, black men’s ten-speed and the top of the frame landed somewhere between my navel and my chest.  This bike was much too large for me.  I bravely took it over to the porch steps, swung a tentative leg over the center bar and took off – my feet didn’t touch the ground.  I rode it down the sidewalk without a hitch, but when I stopped to turn around, I instinctively jumped down, smacking my pubic bone hard on the center cross bar.

I dismounted the bike and limped my way back to the house.  “I think it’s too big for me,” I said as I brought the bike back to the porch.  My father would have none of it.  The malevolence that could flash from his eyes towards his own child always overwhelmed and shrunk me. I had inconvenienced Bob by asking to use the bike and I was expected to ride it now – to hell with safety or injury.  My father looked at me as if he wanted to squash me like a gnat if he could.

Upon waking this morning, I remembered this incident from my childhood.  I remember riding the bike back and forth in front of the clapboard houses, as I was commanded, dreading the end to the sidewalk where I must stop.  I tried using the fence to assist my dismount.  Almost every time, I bruised myself on the crossbar. I road the bike for an hour, came home, and didn’t ask Bob for anything again.