Master’s sister is moving away… far away. I think he is sad about that. He rarely sees his family… hardly ever initiates social contact with them. If it weren’t for his mother taking the time to set up dinners and send us an invite or me occasionally suggesting we have them over… he would maybe never see them. But he knew they were there, just a fifteen minute drive away. He could see them if he wanted. I think that awareness was in some ways comforting. And now it is going away.
The circumstance of their leaving is sad… jobs lost… mortgages left unpaid… slowly surrendering to the inevitable. So they decided to just walk away from it all… move far, far away and start over completely. It is hard for me to imagine… to take a close look at the accumulated detritus of a lifetime and decide what can you bear to give up and what you have room for in the car. What goes… what doesn’t.
I know I could do it. Not a moment’s angst. In fact it would be cathartic… like shedding a layer of dead skin… but Master cannot let go of anything… not a screw… not a piece of wood, ragged shirt, broken car… nothing.
We went over to pick up some shelves they could not take that were an upgrade for us… and the house was a disaster. It looked like someone had put a life time of shit and treasures into a giant blender or a tornado and pushed the on switch. Little paths wound through the drifts of stuff. I know I must have looked shocked and frightened… I asked… “When do you guys plan to be out of here?”
She said a week and a half… I looked around and shrank up a little. I could not have dealt with just one of those rooms in a week and it was a whole huge house. I have no idea what they are going to do… probably walk away with it like that… let the bank deal with it.
On the ride home, both Master and I were subdued… numb… sad. Just the sight of it was heart wrenching. And as we carried the shelves up into the house, I looked around… seeing all the things we have and do not need… thinking that my life would not be much different if that thing did not share my space… I would not be happier or sadder.
In the spare room where the shelves were to go… there was an old box fan… it had been in the window of the attic for years and was layered up with dirt. We had actually purchased a new one to replace it and there it sat, an eyesore, a soul sore… and I picked it up to carry it down out of the house… some impulse to throw this one thing off the ship. Master said, “Put that down.”
I cringed. It hurt to put it back. Images of that house filled with stuff echoed around inside my head. And as I obeyed I tried to argue. But his response to pain is to hold tighter to things… even filthy, redundant things, and he told me to shut up. And I shrank up inside myself, mute and filled with helpless rage.
Later on, when we could finally talk, he explained that he was not forbidding me to throw the fan away… he just did not want it anywhere else in the house until we could throw it away. So, when he was otherwised engaged, I snuck it out into the trunk of my car and pitched it in a dumpster at work. It felt good. Now only a billion more things to go.
...as I prepare to publish this... it occurs to me that perhaps Master's sadness has to do with letting go of his sister. Another thing, this relationship that sat unused and gathering dust on that psychic shelf... a thing that was valued even if it was rarely taken down and made use of... but still precious.