Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Good advice. Not something you can rush..."

From her well appointed apartment on Mt. Vernon Street in Beacon Hill she could see down Walnut Street to the skating pond on the Boston Common.  It was a Sunday afternoon and the pond was covered with kids while their parents sipped Starbucks coffee and tried to shake off the post holiday malaise.  The holiday lights and good tidings replaced by the monotonous gray of January.  She was seated on her floor at the foot of her Christmas tree meticulously removing, wrapping and sorting each ornament.

This one was hers, her mother had bought it for her when she was 10.  A wooden gymnast captured in perpetual motion on the uneven bars.  This one was his, the Star Trek emblem his mother had made him when he was a child.  Hers, the glass unicorn from her youth, his the Mickey Mouse made into a nutcracker.  Theirs, the glass ball they had bought in Disneyland Paris.  Theirs, the "Our First Christmas" heart hung on a red ribbon he had bought for their first Christmas together.  The year they spent tucked in the Kenmore Square apartment shared with two friends.

How do you divide memories?  Divorce papers not filed yet and her husband of 7 years seated in a leather recliner watching football, but they both knew.  Both knew what they could not say.  That it was their last Christmas as a married couple.  That the next time boxes of Christmas ornaments were opened they would not be together.  That years after this moment one of them would unwrap one of those shared ornaments and surrounded by new families, a new spouse they would pause before carefully re-wrapping the memory in tissue paper and pack it away.  That there would be no place on the new tree for it.

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