Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Memory Box

[Yes, I realize that a scant 24 hours ago, I thought I was too fucked up to write.  I still am! Welcome to my fucked up little blog.  And now, a word from our sponsors:  Kate's spongy, fogged-up mind and Kate's emotion-fatigued fingers. Fact is, I do better if I write.  I had better keep on.]

So, I have finally landed in front of my computer where I am allowing my toenail polish to dry (Orchid!  Very pretty!  Doesn't improve my mood just now, but effectively covers the very black toenail that I bruised running the Salt Lake Half.  Soon, it will come off.  In the meantime, it will be Orchid.) and drinking a cup of tea.  Earlier in the evening, I decided to waste some of my precious time weeding out my memory box.  This is a foot locker in which I hold my clabber. I try not to be TOO much of a pack rat, so when the foot locker gets so full the lid won't close, I go through it.  I often find Precious, Precious Treasures, so precious that I have forgotten their provenances.  And WAY too many t-shirts. 

My memory box contains all the same stuff you have in yours:  programs, graduation tassels, certificates, diplomas, key rings, pins, passports, maps, letters, t-shirts, junk jewelry... But here are ten things I found that I'm figuring NO ONE else has in his/her memory box.  If I am wrong, and you have any of these things, please comment and I will stand corrected.  And I will ask to meet you.
  1. A silver teaspoon with a porcelain handle, upon which is painted a portrait of Calvin Coolidge.
  2. A likeness of Nicolas Copernicus, rendered from gingerbread (now a little fuzzy and dusty).
  3. A child's dress-up dress from Chile.  A few years ago, when I went to Concepcion to do some volunteer work, I stayed with a host family that had a 7 year-old girl.  The family was not well-off:  there were seven of them living in three tiny rooms.  They were so happy, though, to squeeze me in for a few weeks and make me part of the family.  The little girl had an old cast-off dress that she played dress-up in constantly.  She presented it to me as a parting gift.  
  4. Four wisdom teeth, strung as a necklace on a piece of dental floss.  My dentist's idea of a little joke.
  5. Microscope slides, assembled in a box labeled "Katie's Box of Small Wonders".
  6. A Singapore Airlines flight attendant uniform shirt.
  7. A brown paper bag with a handful of little felt, shield-shaped patches.  School crests from the high school where I taught in Poland.
  8. A little photo book made by my dad, commemorating the bumper local harvest in my hometown one year:  CORN '99! 
  9. A ginormous pair of wrestling shoes.  These were way down in the bottom of the box, due to their awkward size, and my throat tightened when I pulled them out - I hadn't seen them in many years.  They were a parting gift (yeah, I know - I get some very odd parting gifts) from one of the high school boys I taught in Poland.  You know, I should write this story down.  I'll give it a blog entry of its own tomorrow.  Michal J. and I had a perilous adventure in which blood was spilled and I decided I was meant to be a teacher.  If the house caught fire, I would try to save these shoes.
  10. Dutch paratrooper's wings. Filthy and frayed because for many years they kept company with a bunch of other patches I had sewn to my ratty day pack that traveled the world with me.  I have written about my Dutch pen pal in the past.  When we "broke up" (for lack of a better word, since we had never really managed to be together), I sent his paratrooper's wings back to him.  He sent them back to me again.  He thought that, maybe someday, I would miss having them. 
And since he was right about that, maybe I can make room in my memory box for two action figures, two Nerf swords and a very short note?

Yes, to the relief of sensible people everywhere, I have gone back into Detox. 

[Sigh!]  Day ONE, I'm afraid.  Today was not too awful...at first.  But the miserable reality of it is starting to sink in.  I found myself back on the rim of the bathtub for the first time in a while. 

This is not because of anything CB did wrong.  He has never lied to me or deceived me about how hard this is.  He hasn't prevaricated or obfuscated or done any other big words.  He has been ridiculously steadfast. He's just not a single man, and not in a position to be in a relationship with me.   At first, I was just so glad to see his face and hear his voice that I thought I could have him in my life while he continued to work through  a lot of difficult stuff. But I can't.  I would be elated at times, but would then become sad.  We can't really spend time together, so we can't explore the potential of the relationship.  And since the little bits if the relationship that we had were so fabulous, this frustrated me. I kept hemming and hawing about what would be a better choice:  staying close to him or backing away. 

It was the Salt Lake City Half Marathon that decided me.  CB insisted on coming to meet me after the race.  No, no, no.  Not necessary.  It's crowded at the finish area.  Hard to park.  He has other things to do.  I wasn't sure exactly when I would finish.  I don't want a man that I'm interested in to see me with sweat-salt crusted in my hair.  And no one ever meets me after races.  Simon has never been to any of mine.  Anyway, the kids had soccer.  Heedless of my objections, he was waiting for me when I got in.  He had a thermos of sugary chai.  He put his hoodie on my sweaty, nasty, crusty wet self when I got chilled and shivery.  He walked back to my truck with me.  And I thought, "Geeze, I love this guy.  Every time I am with him, I love him more."  And then [cue the sinister music] I thought, "You are setting yourself up for an absolute fucking train wreck of a heartbreak.  Run away now!  CB is not available to be your guy." 

It was very hard to turn away from him.  Easier than last time, because we both know that we aren't mad at each other.  Harder than last time, because I felt that I had a choice, even though the choice SUCKED!  And harder because the few times we were able to see each other during the last couple weeks were so great.  Conversations about the future.  It's hard to pack it all up and really lock it away.

CB maintains that he will be back. "A month or two", he needs. 

I maintain that I will not be seeing him again.  Bleak?  Necessary.  Know what happens if I hope?  I wait.  Detox is all about recovering and moving on.  Not about waiting.  My job is to get on with it.  Maybe he'll come and find me and tell me he's ready.  Or maybe he'll decide not to. In the meantime, if even ONE PERSON says that horrible junior high cliche about how if you love something, you should set it free?  I will blow snot on that person's shoe.  I will put a blackening banana peel under the driver's seat of that person's car.  Fuck the inspirational posters with pictures of fucking sea gulls. 

SO... remember the rules? 

  1. Don't see him or talk to him.  I'll block my phone tomorrow.  I don't think he'll try to contact me, but it will keep me from getting the DTs every time I get a text.
  2. Get yourself a breakup buddy.  I have several.
  3. Get your ass in motion every day.  Back to the gym tomorrow, now that my quads have recovered from the race.
  4. Don't wear your breakup out into the world.  Both my fingers and toes are now Orchid.  I'm meeting a nice guy for drinks tomorrow night after work.  I think I remember how to flirt.  If not, I'll check the handbook
  5. NO backsliding.  If I see CB before the detox is over, it'll mean that he wants to be with me and I will gladly walk away from the detox.    
  6. Remember to put YOU first.  Well, shit.  That's what I'm trying to do.  Are we having fun, yet?  [Gasp!]  FUN!  Time to reconvene the Eleanors.  I wonder if I could get a group of folks who want to go down and do some camping in the San Rafael Swell in a few weeks.  Planning a camping trip would distract me.  And I LOOOOOVE the Swell. "Course, I'd love it more if I were there with him, but... we will soldier on, regardless.
  7. Get rid of the things that remind you of him.  OK, I checked the fine print.  It is all right to keep a few things, if you put them away.  The action heroes, swords and little note can go in the remodeled, spacious memory box.  Because there is an idiot inside me who dares to hope a little.  Just a little
What about your memory box?  What are five things you have stashed away?  Tell us about them in the comments section, if you feel like it.


  1. Whew, what a roller-coaster. Yay you for running the Salt Lake Half-Marathon. Hope the toenail gets better soon. And stick to those rules, Kate!

    I have to confess to a fit of teeth-gnashing green-eyed jealousy for the first two items in your memory box. Too cool for words.
    Wrasslin' boots, too!

    I'm afraid I don't have a memory box. It's not something we do over here in Blighty. Instead we just sit around as we get older, completely unable to remember anything except the 1960s, which is fun in its own way.

  2. I wanna get high, but I really can’t take the pain
    ’cos it will blow away my soul like a hurricane
    I’m like a one man band clapping in the pouring rain
    If I know where I’m going, I don’t know from where I came

    Where we gonna be in summertime?
    And are we gonna see the heavens shine
    Like diamonds in the sky?

    As soon as they come
    The feelings they go
    All alone, on a one way road

  3. I wish I could fit all my sentimental stuff in one box. My house is a train wreck! I admire your organizational skills!