Left To Chance

December 8, 2008 at 4:34 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Ah, the weekend.
  Jeez, I’m glad it’s over.  The part during the week where I just work is easier than the weekend where I have to work on the house.  Slowly but Shirley, it’s coming along.  Don’t call me–
  Two more weeks.  Fourteen days.  A fortnight.  Half a menstrual cycle.  All these measurements of time remind me of how little time I have left to get this done.  I sure would like to think it’s mostly done.
  I did get the storage place, so that’s something.  And we have been moving stuff into it.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem to be enough.  I can’t…
  When there is too much shit in the way, I lock up.  I’m spinning my wheels and I don’t know what to do.  With the storage, it should give me purpose and a way out:  move the shit.  And that’s easy, just pick it up and put it in the truck.
  But even that becomes a burden.  If the shit is not packed up, how the hell do I know what to pack?  How can I know?  Detroit’s philosophy is, pack it all up, even the trash.  Sort of a "Kill them all, let God sort them out" kinda thing.  I guess it allows her to get it done, and I wish I could do that, but I think too much.
  I’m not…Well, I’m not doing what my sister does, which is this:
 
  Delicately, she picks up each individual dust-covered trinket.  A sigh escapes her lips as a tear tracks down a well-worn path in her cheek.  She hugs it tight to her as she holds her head up to the sky and allows the emotions that the piece invoke to wash over her.  She closes her eyes as she holds it–tightly–as though she may never see it again.
  This is close to the truth; the trinket she holds she hasn’t seen or even thought about since she was a child.  It was a small piece that her mother had on a shelf, along with hundreds of other worthless kitsch-ware.  She wanted to cherish the memory of her mother, and keep it as sacredly as her mother did, and for the same reason as her mother did.
  And the reason her mother kept it was because she could never find it to throw it away.  Carefully, she wrapped the rock in bubble-wrap, then paper, then more bubble wrap, and then paper again, and then placed it carefully in the box with other pieces of crap that were similarly wrapped. 
  She sighed again, knowing that she would never see this piece again.  She was moving, and the boxes would be stacked up in a back room for the rest of her life, never to be unpacked and displayed.  Just kept.  That’s what mattered.
  At least they wouldn’t collect dust anymore.

  The stuff she does box and wrap is all marked "fragile."  Every single thing.  Perhaps her definition of fragile is different from everyone else’s.  We all think of fragile as meaning "easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail: a fragile ceramic container; a very fragile alliance."  Whereas to my sister, "fragile" means "All the stuff I own."
  But the shit is just so disorganized, I can’t wrap my brain around where to start, or how big of a box to get for some of this.  It takes my brain to box the stuff up, and then my body to move the stuff.  I understand now why chess-boxing is so difficult.  (Chess-boxing is that sport where you alternate rounds of boxing with rounds of chess.  Yes, it’s a real sport.  Look it up.)
  My purpose was to clear some of the clutter away so I could get to the work that needs to be done.  I think I can now.  I think I can.  I need to, because there are some jobs that need to be done, like the basement bathroom, and some other crap.  Not to mention what I need to do at our house still.
  Saturday, I as much as forced her to pack shit, and we packed shit for her as well.  Of course, she couldn’t keep her nose out of what we were packing, in case she might miss a gut-wrenching case of nostalgia, or we might throw away a receipt for a brush that she bought that she paid cash for seven years ago to replace the brush she had but couldn’t find even though it meant so much to her as well.
  Detroit says she has spent way too much time with her these last few weeks.  I have too.  My sister…I feel sad for her, but she is just lonely.  She ran off her friends because of her abrasive personality.  If we are working on the house, she wants to make some excuse to call off work so she can be there and not do anything.  We do get her to work, but then when we leave, she stops.
  Sunday, my sister had to work.  We waited until we knew she was at work before we went over, so she wouldn’t make up some excuse to not go in.  Seeing this as an opportunity to move shit without my sister peering over our shoulder, we jumped on it.  Sort of.  I swear, we still only got about three truckloads over that day.  I know we could have done more–but I started spinning my wheels.
  We got shit moved, got some trash out of the basement, made progress.  Detroit put up our Christmas tree, anticipating that we will be living there by Christmas.  We shall see…
  I joked with Detroit that I wasn’t sure now who was crazier, her sister or my sister.  I thought it was hers.  Last night, about 11:30, I had been in bed about 15 minutes, and was really working on getting comfortable and getting to sleep.  I was almost there.  Pillows just right and my hand on my nuts, with visions of sugarplums in my head.
  My phone rings.  Usually I don’t have it in the room with me, this time I accidentally did.  My sister.  "Bryan, there was a box that was open that was sitting on the mantel"–actually the hearth–"in the living room.  It had my valium in it."
  In my semi-sleep state, this did not shock me.  "And?"
  "And I need to get it.  I’ll come and get the key, just tell me where the storage is."
  "Do you really need that tonight?"
  "If I want to get to sleep I do!"  She probably needs the voices in her head to shut up so she can get to sleep, and she does that by drugging them.  If I was trapped in her head, I would want to be drugged too.
  "Whatever."
  She came over and got the key, and I explained the particulars to her.  She left.  My nagging suspicion was that she just wanted to see her stuff and be with it, pay homage to it one last time because she won’t be with it for a few weeks.  Then again, maybe she really was taking valium.
  I turn off the lights, and head back to bed.  I groan and my body creaks as I try to recapture the perfect bliss I had almost achieved earlier, but it’s like trying to get a hard-on back that you’ve lost when you’re…my age.
  Still, I tried, sinking into the bed and pillow, with a tightness in the back of my neck as I expected another phone call from her because she couldn’t figure out some aspect of it, like entering the code.
  My beloved turned her head slightly towards me.  The last thing I heard before I went to sleep was this concession:  "Your sister wins."

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