Tearing of papers brings me so much pleasure lately. Let me tell you why.
Just when I thought it was going to be one of those ordinary afternoons, I found myself scouring through my cabinet and drawers for papers to tear and throw away.
I was sitting on the floor, staring intently at the pile of papers in front of me, while the back-to-the-80s music of Easy Rock lingered in the background. The sheets were an assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes that I randomly kept and collected. I fell in love with the romantic idea of opening them one day later in my life and reliving the memories they hold. Obviously, I am a very sentimental person.
There were bank statements, deposit slips, and remittance confirmations. Some were small receipts of loan payments, grocery items, and monthly utility bills. There were also some applications forms neatly filled out, but were never sent to the intended parties. Resumés. I-regret-to-inform-you letters from last year. Some recently dated documents were diagnostic laboratory results and physician’s prescriptions.
I picked them one by one and began the ceremonious motion of tearing them away. First, I skimmed each item to ascertain that whatever was written on it would no longer have any use or serve me any purpose in the future. Then, my thumbs and index fingers clipped the border and instantly pull the sheet apart, splitting it in halves. I repeated the process for each piece until the whole was reduced to tiny, discrete pieces.
Each motion of tearing produced a rustling sound that broke into the surrounding sentimental atmosphere.
It was soothing. It was a cathartic relief.
But I sensed a feeling of sadness and loss when I came to the last three sheets of paper that I caught at the bottom of the pile.
One of them was a photocopy of a contract that was signed in 1981 and which bound a couple through life. The groom and bride were 21 and 24 years old, respectively. For quite sometime, their union has caused me bitterness that persisted through my growing up years. I blamed them for the unsavory life I was born into, and it took me time to get over it.
The second was a perforated leaf of notebook where the words “My Bucket List” were written above its very first line. It was a collection of ambitious things, but only few have been marked with checks.
My breathing became heavy when I held the last piece of paper. The handwritten letter suddenly stopped me and disarmed me of my strength. My eyes brimmed with tears, and my dimming vision could not do anything to keep me from recognizing the words written on it. They seemed to have been etched in my memory since the first time I laid my eyes on them.
This letter from someone I loved dearly was the last piece that ties me back to the past; that stifles me from moving forward; and that reminds me to hold on to the enchanted promise of unrealizable forever.
This “Dear Jay” letter that I have been safekeeping in the depths of my unrequited heart must be the last piece of lie, regret, hope, and love that I needed to let go.
No matter what I do, no matter how far away I try to go, I always find myself looking back to the past and going back to this feeling of intense pain. The more I deny and try to forget, the more the memories become vivid, sharp, and arresting.
I was kind and strong enough to encourage people to let go. I wrote and shared messages of hope with those I felt were struggling. But the reality is, I am still not OK. I am still hurting. Over a year has passed, but I am still broken, and these torn pieces of trash scattered around me were kind enough to tell me why.
I did not let go the way I should; I just gave up. There is a vast difference. Giving up may have finished things, but it left them unresolved.
My heart was begging to spare this letter. My mind was clamoring to end the pain. I shut my eyes tightly and let my thoughts guide my fingers as they rip up the remaining sheet.
I probably do not cross my beloved’s mind anymore, but I was fool to be still miserably holding on to the emotions I have attached to this letter. I know it was weighing me down and the truth is:
People move on and feelings change.
I gathered the torn pieces. I held them tightly in my fists. I tossed them in the air. My tears fell as I watched them rain down all over me, like dead leaves falling from the branches of the autumn trees. These were now the remnants of myself – who I was, what I became of, where I’ve been, and whom I’ve shared my life with.
This post has been inspired by Letters To Adrienne