I drove to the storage unit this morning to look for some documentation that I had packed away. I packed it because I didn’t think I’d need it in my new life in California, at least not right away. As I drove up to the metal gates it occurred to me that I had forgotten the code to get in. I tried several times with no luck. So, I turned the car around and as I was driving away, I remembered it. Typical. Back I went. Once in, I located unit 708 and pulled in front of it. I noticed that the down spout next to the door, now has a block of ice spilling from it, like a frozen waterfall. The last time I was there, my son and I were sweating and couldn’t get cool enough – it’s hard work packing, moving and lifting all those boxes. They’re heavy, all of them. Very heavy.
As I stood there in the bitter cold looking at our mountain of carefully labeled boxes I started to cry. Kitchen. Books. Lily. Bedroom. Closet. Office. Spencer. Christmas. Neil. Living Room. Lisa. Fragile. Fragile. Fragile. Fragile. Fragile….
I didn’t find what I was looking for. How could I? It was just a piece of paper.
As a child, I related to Petula Clark’s song, “My Love,” and Diana Ross’s, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” My wedding song was Ben E. King’s, “Stand by Me.” I’m a believer, an optimist. My faith in good things, including all people, is child-like and unshakable. I love and hope so completely, that I could go on forever, waiting and believing. It’s just who I am. I don’t know how to be any other way. I really don’t. All the messages of my childhood, whether heard from the radio, watched on TV, or taught in a classroom, reinforced the idea that being strong, loyal, patient and loving was good and right.
Today, I’m feeling broken at my core. I’ll never be the same trusting, vulnerable person again. It’s a shame because I liked being that girl, and now she’s gone. Something about being reduced down to a pile of boxes, feeling rejected, and unloved, after a lifetime of trying to move mountains, and years of trying to create a beautiful life for my family, has caused a significant tremor in my heart. Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if I simply hadn’t tried, if I had given up and walked away? What’s the good of being strong if when you fall, you fall so hard that you break into pieces? All that hope and believing, was it for naught? (No need to comment if you don’t want to – I know how all of you feel and I love you for it.)