Old Letters

It's funny how when you first move into a place it always seems so big.

Even when I was moving out of a house that I used to be married in to a bachelor pad on my own, I remember being surprised when I first saw the place at just how much room it seemed like I was getting to myself. Corridors and corners -- so many blank canvas that it seemed I'd never find enough things to fill it with on my own.

But then when you eventually move out, everything seems really small.

Even now as I frantically pack boxes and bind them with tape, I'm surprised at how little my current place feels to me now. Compared to that bachelor pad it just seemed huge when I first found it. 

Which was good, because as soon as you came back home we were going to share it.

Perhaps it's emblematic of a lot of things, the way I envisioned the two of us there. It's not like we both decided on a place, or planned anything about it together. I drew this detail into a larger picture without really worrying if it looked like it belonged there or not.  So eager to imagine the possibilities without stopping to measure the square footage. I didn't want to see limitations.

Didn't want to do the math.

Last Sunday was gorgeous. Anyone with any sense would have been out in it, enjoying the mix of cool air and bright sunshine that this time of year brings. But there were boxes to pack. Time was getting dangerously short, and I hadn't really done enough to consider myself ready yet.

The morning goes quickly. DVDs and video games. This pile of stuff gets kept, this bunch I'll try to sell to the used bookstore downtown. Everything is logical and easy to call. I'd come into this process knowing that it was time to cut away some of the extra baggage in my life. More than just selling off old CDs or getting rid of broken-down furniture.

It was time to stop dragging the past around with me in a box. Simplify and start over.

I knew the letters were around. I knew I hadn't thrown them away. But I had taken them down along with the photographs on the refrigerator. Handwritten smiles, sepia-toned reminders of a future once to come -- there was a day a year or so back when I finally realized they were keeping me from looking at anything else, so I took them down and I put them all in a drawer.

Another corner of my place that I once wondered how I would ever find a way fill.

This isn't about blame. It's not a pointed finger. You weren't the one who told me to hold onto all of these things. I wanted you here, so it only made sense to fill the empty corners of my place with the shape of your handwriting and the scent of the perfume you sprayed the paper with while I waited for your return.

But I read the letters now and the words seem different. Things I could have done more of. Questions I can't remember if I answered back or not. It's frightening now that I know how the movie ends to consider just how many hints I might have missed in the script along the way.

I spent more hours reading all of these things than I probably should have. It's not like I didn't have anything else to do -- but even with all the time that had passed it was hard not to get pulled back into the nostalgia of it all. We really were happy together, even if things didn't turn out the way we'd talked about them going or hoped that they would.

It's hard to let something like that go, even if all you really have to do is throw away a bunch of old letters.

[Now Playing:  Revocation - "The Grip Tightens" ]