When my (ex)husband moved out on February 2, he not only left me and my daughter behind, but a whole lot of stuff. He only took his clothing, shoes, some books and his dresser and end tables-things I told him he could have because they were never quite my taste. He got a fresh start. A brand new apartment, new furniture, a bed with no memories, and an interior designer to help him put it all together. What he left behind was a bunch of junk and our “marriage stuff.” After six months of ignoring the things he left behind, I’m finally starting to go through it all, box it up and either leave it on the street or ask him if he wants it to keep. The amp that sits collecting dust at the bottom of my daughter’s closet (I hear he’s taken up playing the guitar again), his vast collection of DVD porn (probably outdated since you can get it for free on the internet these days), a bunch of his photos from childhood, stored in the little cubby spaces I have above my closets and then there’s my stuff. My marriage stuff.
The thing about weddings is that the groom generally rents his tuxedo. One day and goodbye. But for the bride, the wedding dress IS the wedding. Mine was an ivory, backless, body skimming, silk dress with a sweep train. I no longer have the veil. It was lost at the after party on the night of my wedding, but it was beautiful. Cathedral length adorned with Swarovski crystals in subtle swirly patterns. I loved the veil more than my dress. And where is the dress now? Sitting in it’s preservation box in a storage space in Coney Island. I was “warned” by my (ex)husband that he had taken what he wanted from that space and that I had until July 31st to take whatever was left of the remains.
My car. I came into this marriage with my single girl 2004 silver Honda Civic. In the Fall of 2008, right before our daughter was born, he suggested that we sell my car because it had excellent resale value, people were looking for gas efficient cars, it had low milage and we would actually make money from the sale as the note was almost paid off, besides, parking in Park Slope was horrible and I could use his car, as he rarely did and always took mass transit. It seemed like a good idea at the time and we did earn money on my single girl Civic, but looking back on it, I see it more as a goodbye to my independence. I scrimped and saved for the thousand dollar down payment for that car. I paid my note every month and had my own insurance. Suddenly, nothing was mine anymore. Everything was ours.
Well, the one car situation didn’t last very long, as two months later he moved his office and needed to drive more than he had. He knew I didn’t care very much for his car–an “old man’s car” I called it. We went back to the very Honda dealership where I purchased my first car and leased an SUV. After all, we were having a baby, and of course that meant we needed an SUV. So we leased one. August 15, 2010. Three years later, it’s time to turn it in and it has to be cleaned out, inspected and I have to decide if I want another lease or finance my own vehicle. I do know one thing. NO SUV. Cleaning out that trunk was an arduous task. My Mom had sold our childhood home last summer and my trunk was packed with all the stuff I had left behind, wanted to keep, but had no place to put it. As I sifted through and boxed old high school photos, lifted a beach chair from the cavernous hole, found a few old journals, I spotted a very large black frame- face down. “This has to be smashed.” I thought to myself as I tugged at it until it was still backwards in my hands. “What is this?” I thought. I turned it around and it was our wedding portrait. Not a scratch on the g;lass. In perfect condition. Completely in tact. The opposite of today. A 16X20 inch black and white close up shot of the two of us lip locked in an open mouth kiss. My heart stopped for a second. I stared at it for a few seconds longer. “What am I supposed to do with this?” And what am I supposed to do with all of our marriage stuff? The wedding pictures still in their frames that I took down and stuck in a drawer. Our family portraits. The photos from our vacations and even the random iPhone shots of the two of us together looking so happy. The Engagement Ring. The Wedding Band. Why am I stuck with all of this shit? And what do I do with it?
I can handle boxing up his old junk and leaving it in a box for him to collect when he picks our daughter up on his custody nights, but the memories? The tangible reminders of husband and wife?
How can I box them?