The thing about moving is, you always find little pieces of history and memories laying around, waiting to be discovered. Or at least if you are a pack rat like me, who dreads throwing anything out, in case I may “need” it one day.
After a year-and-a-half of being married (and thus, a year-and-a-half since I moved out of my parents house), I was kindly informed that it was time to move all my belongings from their house. I don’t even know how I got away with keeping things there that long – probably because my parents realized how small the place was – but when we moved into the new house, I was left with no excuses.
Of course, I didn’t simply throw away all the items that I clearly hadn’t used or ‘needed’ in the past year-and-a-half – no, I decided to sort through everything.
Lo and behold, pieces of my past came crashing through.
A few were welcome – childhood memorabilia, old writing projects… But then there were the items from past relationships. Now, my dating history isn’t vast. There was a summer romance for a French boy – which was definitely more trouble than it was worth. And there was Bob (not his real name) – the only other guy I’d ever dated. Bob and I had been together 2 years, on and off. On for year-and-three-quarters or so, then I broke up with him, and then I followed a mad, and very dumb, impulse to get back together with him for a month or so after a summer apart. Bob and I were wrong for each other. I was young and unaware of what I wanted in life – he was a few year’s older and knew exactly how he wanted me to be – even if that’s not what I wanted.
The relationship is old news. We broke up when I was 19 – almost 6 years ago. I’ve been married 2 years, and he’s been married a few months now. So, when I stumbled across the locket he gave me for our one-year dating anniversary – I felt like I opened a cupboard to the past.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t care for him anymore. I’m madly in love with A and there’s no room for anyone else. Sure, Bob will always be special in that first boyfriend kind of way, but that is all. And truly that wasn’t the issue. The issue was, I knew it was in the past, A knows it’s in the past – so is it wrong to wear a locket that an old boyfriend gave me?
My heart says yes. A says to do whatever I feel like doing. He’s not the jealous type really, or at least he wouldn’t admit it. But, I feel it’s disloyal. And yet, it’s beautiful and I’d always wanted a locket, so I can’t bring myself to throw it out.
I’ve dabbled with the idea of giving it away. I had offered to give it back to Bob when we broke up, but he refused. I’ve thought of giving it to one of my nieces, but that seemed strange. To keep it for a future daughter that may or may not be, also seemed very strange. That is what I will do with pieces A gave me, not a person that has no meaning to me any more.
The locket will always remind me of Bob – so should I just keep it tucked away in a box of the past – or is that like I’m not letting go of the past? I don’t feel like I’m holding on to Bob, or the idea of Bob, but would keeping the locket seem like I am? Is it wrong to keep mementos and pictures of the past, or should they be tossed, burned, discarded?
These are questions I struggle with.
And, that is why I wish it had continued to be “lost” and then no decision would have to be made.
– Inspired by prompts 1 & 4 of this week’s Sleep is For the Weak Writing Workshop.