They spring up without notice. Uninvited. They sneak up…first just within your peripheral vision – then they slowly, insidiously creep into your direct view.
You can’t ignore them. You shake your head to make them go away, but they linger.
I have them. Do you?
My 30-year marriage, of course, was not ALL bad. It couldn’t have been; I wouldn’t have stayed all that time if it was. Much of it was a disappointment, true, but there were good moments, happy times, contentment.
And every now and then I remember them.
The memories spring up at the oddest times, and not always at a time that seems to make sense. All of a sudden, in the middle of teaching a class, I picture the two of us sitting and enjoying a glass of wine after touring a winery in Zichron Yaakov in 2007. Or chatting with the interesting man who owned the photography store in Paducah, Kentucky. Or sitting and sharing a German pancake for dinner.
Mind pictures suck.
These are almost as bad as the ones that used to creep up after I found out about his affair. Now… those were imagined pictures and they were amazingly vivid considering they were completely (well, almost completely) fabricated in my head. They were hard to get rid of, too, and they were just as sneaky. But they solicited absolutely nothing but sadness and an overwhelming inability to understand the situation. They sent me off to a dark place where betrayal takes you.
But these pictures are different. They’re sad because they represent something I don’t have any more and won’t have again – at least not with him. But sometimes they kind of bring on a little smile, too. Is that weird? That those sad, don’t-have-anymore moments still bring on a smile?
Mostly, though, they’re annoying. See, I move quickly. I “get” stuff easily (or, frankly, I give up). It took me years and years to learn how to knit because I didn’t “get” it immediately so I would set it aside for months before giving it another shot. I set a high expectation for myself that I will “get” everything quickly. I think I didn’t expect to be thrown off by mind pictures for this long. Oh, I know that’s stupid – I know that you don’t get over the dissolution of a 30-year marriage in a matter of months (although he seems to have…), but I didn’t expect the memories to keep popping up.
I would like to put them all in the box, along with my wedding band, the photo album, and the kiddush cup we drank from at our wedding. Seal ’em up and leave ’em there until I die and the kids can go through them. I even said that to him in September; that I didn’t know what to do with my memories. He didn’t understand and said that was nonsense. “Your memories are still your memories,” he scoffed.
I don’t want them anymore, but I don’t know where to put them. I would like to hit “delete” and get rid of them. Pack ’em up and forget about them, like the old photos from junior high that are so hideous but you can’t bear to part with them. No – strike that. I can bear to get rid of them. Now, how do I do that?