There's a box in the top of a closet. I usually don't go near it. I know what's inside. Cards and letters and photographs. Memories of us. At first, I would open it up every few months, and sift through the memories. Perhaps I thought it was some sort of therapy. It would hurt. But at the same time, part of me wanted to go back, remember how things were. And then, after awhile, I could only get through one or two or three cards and it would become too painful. The last time I opened it was months ago. Until tonight.
The power went out here a little after 9:00. I lit a few candles. And after a few minutes, I decided to get the box out of the closet. So I sat on my bed, opened it up, and by candlelight, began to read. Valentine's, birthdays, anniversaries, thinking of you cards. Handwritten letters. There are so many beautiful thoughts, phrases like "meet me halfway" and "I don't want to lose you." Sometimes I think that I just read right over them then, without really thinking about what she was saying. I almost know I did. Reading all those words of love and forever, it is still hard to believe that I lost it. Maybe not hard to believe, but to accept. Even now. To look back on something and see so much promise, and know that it is gone. It's not easy. Even now.
Some of the cards and letters are from times when we were having problems or had gotten into an argument. It's hard to see the pleading in her words, her apologizing to me, when I should have been the one apologizing to her. Too hard. After five or six cards, a few pictures, and a letter or two, I can't handle anymore. I close the box and return it to its place in the top of the closet. I notice one corner of the box has split. I think to myself that I will have to tape that up.
Why do I do this to myself? It's not like I do it often. As I said earlier, I keep thinking maybe it is therapeutic. But maybe I shouldn't look back at all. It opens old wounds and puts that most awful of all empty feeling back in the pit of my stomach. And I am back to beating myself up for mistakes that I have already paid for. She and I made our peace. We even became good friends. She has forgiven me. I guess the hardest thing to do sometimes is to forgive yourself. I thought I had.
A few minutes later, the lights come back on. But sometimes it feels like I'm still in the dark.
"Remember me when you're out walking. When the snow falls high outside your door. Late at night when you're not sleeping, and the moonlights falls across your floor. When I can't hurt you anymore..."