To toss or not to toss?

January 1, 2007 at 6:37 am (favs)

I was talking to a friend over the holidays about relationship mementos. You know, letters, pictures, ticket stubs – the pieces of old loves that wind up in a drawer somewhere until you’re forced to decide what to do with them. Perhaps marriage makes this decision easy. Once married, all pieces of former relationships get dumped. Or so some would contend. But for us, the unmarried, the decision is ours alone. Do I keep the old photos to remember the moment that happened to include him, or do I throw them away because they include him? Would I care if a new love stumbled upon these things? Should I care?

Some discard their horde ceremoniously, in a fireplace or a dumpster with a tear or two for good measure. Others quietly let it not survive a move, or discard it the way they would a 7th grade report card. Still others, like me, carry it from home to home, pruning each time until only the best things remain in a box to be buried under a bed or pushed into the darkest corner of a closet.

I have friends who save EVERYTHING. I have friends who save nothing. I have friends who save voicemail messages to be replayed when they’re feeling down and others who print the most flattering emails for lonely Tuesday nights. The thing is, when I look back on past correspondence, it’s not so much what Boy A said, as what he was responding to. The old letters, emails, voicemails, and even pictures, are about who I was, not who I was with. And so I wonder if even marriage will convince me to throw out the box I keep, the journals I’ve never shown, or the t-shirt worn to perfectly delectable softness. Because I’ve never been convinced that embracing the future requires forgetting the past.

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1 Comment

  1. fabulous girl said,

    How bad is it that I have 15 voice messages on my cell phone?

    I know, I know, it’s bad.

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