Memories of This Place
It’s not clear what happened when I moved into this place. I brought with me almost all my possessions (not that much) and the memories they held. It isn’t just a shirt. It’s that shirt I wore to my wedding and do you remember that time… It’s more than a “thing.” It’s all the history I imbue it with. So when I arrived to this apartment, full of objects from my in-laws and a teenage Viktoriya, I quietly placed my memories next to theirs.
That is until we started cleaning and now I can’t help this feeling that I am supplanting their past with my present. I started cleaning out the balcony today, with its little, dark storage space and discovered all sorts of odds and ends: an old carpet washer, ping-pong paddles, a child’s microscope kit, a teddy bear stored in plastic. And as I picked up each item I was deciding in that moment to keep, or trash, whatever memory it held.
It’s strange that I hesitate to throw away a vacuum cleaner which has long since lived its glory days. Or things so long buried in dust they look as if they are apart of the closet’s construction. Why am I plagued by something that has already been so long forgotten? Aren’t those memories faded along with the item? So long in the dark that they have been lost to whoever placed them there?
I’m not sure.
And most of us do this. Slowly we collect a menagerie of items that if laid out in a line would provide the perfect chronicle of our lives: that plate set from ‘05, a Disneyland hat from ‘06, a sturdy pair of boots from Christmas ‘07 and so on until we run out of storage space. Long after the item loses all utility it still retains value in our minds. And I suppose that is a warning against growing too attached to things: we always run the risk of becoming them. Of becoming a collection of things in a small, dark closet.
Yet I am torn; in order to renovate this space we must excise the old, forgotten, misplaced, broken, unnecessary, or ill-fitting components with new ones. To create new memories, I must choose what old ones to kill.