Don’t read the last page

15 Nov

Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you.

With or without Taylor Swift’s lyrical backdrop there is no shortage of memories that I hold on to tightly.  Sentimental to the extreme and constantly alternating between vigilantly protecting every single memory with him and fervently wishing I could wipe them all clean, Eternal Sunshine style.

Patterns and head mazes that lead back to him with the faintest trigger.  Driving in the fog through the mountains to visit my sick sister in the hospital this weekend instantly takes me back to 2009, making the same trip to hold her hand. Remembering the short stay in a home for relatives of hospital patients and going straight to the library room to find solace in a story.   Choosing a paperback off the shelf  called “A Pilot’s Wife” by Anita Shreve, an author I had never heard of before that night.  Returning to our sleepy college town and devouring all of her books, falling in love with one in particular that I read on a stormy Sunday, “Fortunes Rocks.”   Two years later Simba making me feel so incredibly loved by planning an entire vacation around taking me to the setting of my favorite book, laughing and spinning in the wind as the rain danced around us on the deserted Fortunes Rock beach that looked exactly as I pictured it.

I cannot help but smile when thinking of those memories.  No form of head trauma or dementia or spotless mind technology could ever touch those.  They are safe forever.

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In an effort to help him preserve those precious memories I spent countless hours painstakingly making him a photo album, cutting pictures into circles and shapes and making endless mistakes and starting over to try to make it perfect for him.  People frequently remove scissors from my reach for the safety of all as I possess the craft skills of a toddler tipsy on too much candy.   The end result was far from perfect, but his face lit up when he opened it and I felt far more excited about that gift than the expensive Radiohead tickets and Chelsea gifts that accompanied it.

That album went with him three years later when he stormed out of our shared home with declarations of burning hate.  He still took it with him, and I felt a sense of relief seeing it at his new apartment where we foolishly reunited and found continued illicit comfort in each other’s arms for another year and a half.  Then one day it vanished off his shelf and on his refrigerator he had a picture of only himself that had been removed from it.  I knew then that he had finally destroyed the book of memories from our trip, and for some reason that cut me deeply, even though it seems so silly in comparison to everything else.

Perhaps on some level it was our fear of losing each other that led to documenting nearly a decade together with thousands of photographs and videos.  A more sane and rational person (like him) would destroy those memories, but they are snapshots to moments in time that can never be recaptured or revisited, gone forever except in our fading memories and those clear pixels.

Nearly all of my 20’s were spent loving him. Destroying any remnants of the life we shared is unconscionable for me, but he has wiped clean any trace of our love (and indeed my existence) as if I were a #2 pencil pressed lightly on a scantron.   Easily erased.  Easier replaced.

A few weeks after moving in last summer and before knowing anything of my past, the kind and sharply intuitive roommate (from yet another Asian country) stared at me thoughtfully and remarked “There is something so fragile about you.  You try to hide it but I can see that someone has tried to break you.”

Yes.  But life goes on.

It’s still achingly beautiful some days.  Recently discovering Simba had moved clear across the country to marry another without so much as a goodbye… that broke every part of me.  If not for my animals I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed at all.  I cried until I couldn’t anymore, and that took weeks.  Listened to the song he introduced me to years ago by REM on repeat, along with every other sad song.

Then one day I was at the barn on a lovely fall afternoon, the air crisp and bursting with Autumn promise. Birds were singing above my head as my horse came galloping across the field to greet me, nuzzling my neck with his soft muzzle.

I felt so happy to be alive, so grateful to experience the wonder of a thoroughbred’s kisses on a clear fall day.

There is still so much life yet to be lived, even if it is without the one I loved most.

Much more to write and will be doing so more regularly.  It may seem self indulgent to readers but it’s healing to get the thoughts out of my head.  Lately, I have quite a bit as I process through these photos, videos, and thousands of letters and conversations that I have saved diligently and now hope to make something of it to help others.  Until then, Namaste

 

 

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2 Responses to “ Don’t read the last page”

  1. nepaliaustralian November 16, 2017 at 12:46 AM #

    I am so glad to see you writing again. I am sure it is not easy but all the experience you had made you the person you are today, stronger and determined to move forward in life. Please look after yourself and take care…

    • KC November 16, 2017 at 6:52 AM #

      Thank you so much for your comment, it means a great deal to still have support from some of the people who have been there for years with me on this journey. It’s hard to write sometimes when I know the topic isn’t cheerful or happy (but truth be told during those times in life I’m too busy living to reflect on writing). I have loved keeping up with your blog over the years and seeing your beautiful family do life through the lens of your blog. Thank you 🙂

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