Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Metamorphosis: Skeletons In The Closet

It was like this in 1976, only without the nice fancy wooden pole that let it pretend it was a real cupboard.  A beat-up broken one, badly painted white was there instead. 

It was into this cupboard I'd crawl, when, all the age of 17 or 18, I got struck by words or deeds too big to stand up to.   I'd pull the doors shut after me and only then, in a darkness made by roommate's clothes could I weep in fury or heart-break.

Life got bigger, badder, better.  The stuff inside the cupboard became a mirror of the changing world inside the apartment:
  • a roommate's wardrobe
  • another roommate's wardrobe
  • yet another roommate's wardrobe
  • the winter coats of a long-time partner
  • the boxes, containers, files of my own efforts in the world
  • the wardrobe of a new partner
  • my own wardrobe after throwing out all the clothes of that no-longer-new partner (well, he told me to)
And as things came and went (really, he told me to throw everything out), odd flotsam and jetsam got left behind, becoming a graveyard of the mundane and the marvelous:
  • the dozens of reel-to-reel audio tapes documenting my father's youth, Florence's talent, my sister and my playing our piano pieces with Florence drilling us to recite the piece's name and composer as we practiced performing before whirling tape
  • the reel-to-reel player
  • the ice machine and the ice compressor heralding in a new age of old knees and middle-age ailments
  • the bags of wrapping paper and bows and boxes from just received gifts that could be used for presents because you know you never should buy any of that stuff new
  • hats marking different commercial or travel or sports moments that would be forgotten if any hat got thrown out
  • a box of jewelry no longer worn but standing as a monument of family fissions and vengeful acts
  • a really bad painting of a naked woman in the ocean that was so bad it couldn't even be hung in a bar over the cash register (I was only 13)
  • my beloved old wooden toys I used to decorate little homes for my dollies, wishing I could live in with them
 That collage of old skeletons, stuffed precariously into cracks and peeling paint, stayed that way...

...until almost forty years later, flushed with a little bit of money and magazines and catalogs touting how closets could become meccas of  easy-to-use serenity, a new partner's teeshirts and hats marking different commercial or travel or sports events needed a place to go. 

There are no more reasons left to crawl into dark corners.  Very little strikes that hard any more.  Emptied of the past, that old cupboard will soon be filled with a much nicer life.

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