I’ve been going through the boxes of odds and ends my ex brought over this weekend. What a stroll down memory lane this is turning out to be! As I dig through each box I come across artifacts not only of our marriage, but my childhood as well.
Here’s the earth-toned afghan his aunt crocheted for us as a wedding gift. And what’s this? A very old Chinese Checkers game, most likely the very one I played so many times as a child. (I’m not sure how my ex ended up with it; I vaguely remember my mom giving my kids all my old games, and somehow they came into his possession.) Oh how could I have forgotten the many hours spent playing Chinese Checkers with my step-dad and siblings around our marble coffee table? It all comes back to me now, his irritable impatience with my step-brother’s slowness, and his own gloating when he won. My step-dad had a knack for zapping all the fun out of anything, and this was no exception.
Now this is interesting: a laminated drawing of a baby tiger. Seems innocuous enough—-but it’s the very one that used to hang on the wall of my childhood playroom wall. It will be assigned to the trash, for just glancing at it sends chills up my spine. The playroom had a bathroom off of it, and my step-dad used to burst in on me there in the morning while I was getting ready for school. Locking the door did no good, as he was adept at using a fingernail to unlock it. Many a time I stumbled out the door to the bus stop, dazed and confused, hardly knowing who I was, let alone what day it was.
And here I must stop for now. I’m not opposed to the occasional stroll down memory lane, but wallowing in old memories is something I’ve learned to avoid as much as possible. I’m sorry to see these remnants of my past, but not entirely. They remind me how far I’ve come in the decades since I flew out the front door in time to meet the school bus, ignorant of the fate awaiting me as I grew into adulthood.