I have a box in my closet. Waaaay up on the top shelf where I have to stand on my tippy-toes and whack it with a hangar to get it down. It’s a black shoebox that I know all too well.
I dread this shoebox. I dread it because it’s filled with things I don’t like to look at.
Tonight, I pulled it down from my closet, and I opened it up, and slowly, whilst holding my breath, I went through it.
I’ve done this a couple of times since Darren and I broke up. Mostly recently, and for blog purposes.
You see, it’s filled with stuff from our relationship. Mostly, from our engagement.
Inside my black shoebox I see a pair of wine glasses we used to toast our engagement, a box of synthetic rose petals bought for romance the same Valentine’s Day Darren bought me the string of black pearls, also tucked inside the box. It includes my engagement ring, Darren’s acceptance ring, and a diamond necklace he gave me the first Christmas we were together.
These things are a not-so-gentle reminder that it wasn’t always bad between the two of us.
Inside the box also sits one of our wedding invitations, aqua and white with a pretty ribbon tied around it, inviting our guests to my Grandparents home to witness our vows, and a clear sticker with a love quote to seal the envelope.
Next to the invitation is the day-planner I kept while I was planning our wedding. Written in it are appointments at the salon, a time-table of events, and a big red heart around our July 5th, 2008 wedding date.
The hard stuff is tucked away at the back of the planner. Four strips of black and white photo booth pictures from his cousin’s wedding, a photo of him and I with my brother one Christmas, another with us and my Grandmother, and one his parents had sent us of them on a cruise. There is a Christmas card from his brother’s family, a ticket stub from a Monster Truck rally he took me to, the receipt for my wedding dress, and those love notes I told you about.
Going through this box wasn’t easy, it never is… but it had to be done. It’s a struggle to recall every detail of our relationship, and looking at these things helps me remember.
For instance, I remember the Valentine’s Day Darren gave me the pearl necklace. I wore it to visit my Grandmother and when she saw it around my neck she started giggling in this “what a spoiled brat you are” sort of way. Grandma liked the finer things in life and she sure loved her jewelry. She examined the pearls closely and exclaimed “they’re not perfect!!”. After a few strange looks her direction she explained to me that “they must be real, because they’re not perfect!”. It was funny seeing Gram so excited, and Darren sure felt proud.
Going through the box also reminds me of the open-bar at his cousin’s wedding. You see, Darren didn’t drink… but his brother and I did. And we did. And then we did again. And next thing you know, the three of us are crammed into a photo booth with heart shaped glasses and fake moustaches and Darren’s got his hand on my boob while his brother looks like he’s about to hit the jackpot.
If I hadn’t gone through the box, I wouldn’t remember the time I tried to match Darren’s romantic side by laying rose petals on the bed, lighting candles, and hiding a corset under my clothes to be discovered later. I wouldn’t remember how I had to run into another room to change when I realized I couldn’t sit down during dinner in said corset because my torso was too short, or how mad I was when Darren complained that the rose petals were itchy.
If I hadn’t had these reminders, then I wouldn’t be able to finish writing these stories. I just expected it would be a little easier this time around.