Saturday, July 3, 2010
I hold an old cardboard box. It's worn and beaten. It has no value. Even its contents are aged, aged to where they've seen better days but to where they hold no classic style. A few wooden blocks, maybe a pair of mismatched baby socks. That's all you'd find. A passerby wouldn't glance a second time at this old battered box, but I kneel. I hunch over until my back is strained.
A treasure trove is this rotting container, full of things I've missed for so long. The crayons that I drew with, the dolls that I dressed. They're bringing back, carrying me on waves of time, of years, of lives. I see myself so clearly, holding this ratty doll. I see myself so young, brushing her hair so smoothly. There's a light in the fireplace, there's a peaceful hum, a lilting murmur of voices.
And then I'm back, pulled into the world I tried to escape. I'm sitting on a musty floor, cradling a soiled doll. The image has left, but never that little girl's smile, a smile I used to know. I can feel it surrounding me with every grin of my own. So I hold the doll, realizing who I am and the person I've become. I can see that little girl, that happy little girl. I am not that girl anymore. I cry and I hurt, a hurt so deep that it punctures my heart. But I'm strong. I don't feel the strength, but it's there even as the tears fall.
I lay the doll inside the box. I close the lid with an inward sigh. I could throw it away, be rid of the sad little box of memories. But I tuck it carefully into the corner of a darkened room and close the door. It will always be there. There will always be that dimpled grin in the back of my mind. And living with it makes each day easier.
That little box would have no value, not to anyone in the world. But like it I am. Just like that tattered box of broken memories, I have been tossed to and fro. There are scars that cover my skin. My eyes are filled with tears only because I've needed them so. I hold no value to so many, but there will come a day when I will be of some good to someone. I will remind another of what they can be, of who they are. I will give another the strength to push forward. After all, it's not the pain that matters, but the bruises and scars it leaves behind.