Stories of the Ex: Closet Box

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.

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6 thoughts on “Stories of the Ex: Closet Box

  1. I had one of those… a box. Except… mine was an entire flippin’ trunk. A massive trunk. One of my father’s old military trunks. Ha ha. Yeah. One of THOSE trunks. Full. Of. Crap. Mainly from only the one relationship I had, years ago. I thought I was so madly in love with him. He was my “some day” because life kept ripping us apart it seemed. So did he. But we always came back to one another, so I thought he would be my “some day”. Well… finally [ when I thought I’d had enough ] I got ticked off enough when with my four year man and burned it all in this enormous huge backyard bonfire. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fire so big… but it was a relief for me to burn it. It was part of me letting it go. Mind you… not even two years later I could be found in the front seat of his truck, practically in his lap. Burning all of that though certainly made it easier for me to say no the next time he asked to see me. All those reminders were no longer there for me to look at and I knew they weren’t there. That chapter came to a fiery close.

    Anyway! I think it’s nice for people to be able to look back on those things – but at the same time – not. If that makes sense. Which it probably doesn’t.

    I’ve never told a story in depth other than to Oli, and I know how much it hurt then to relive every hashing moment in my life. Even ten years ago. I know it’s not easy, but – you’re an incredible woman. Know that.

  2. I have boxes, too. I figured the kids deserve to see some of their parents happy memories, too. I kept the wedding photos (though I believe I did give him some…he said he wanted them). I kept alot of our wedding stuff and some of the college memories and photos, too. I taped the box, it’s in the shed. I haven’t looked in it in years now so what’s in there other than our wedding stuff I’m not too sure. I think these reminders are nice, even if they’re painful. Some day you’ll want to remember these good things–share them with kids or friends or whatever–and you’ll have them. And that’s nice.

  3. Funny you write this because over the weekend, I sorted through a pile that had been sitting in my office for a few years. I found letters from Soldier…

    I also found a sweet card from my ex-husband for Mother’s Day. They made me sad, seeing all of that. Then I was angry because I realized that I have all of my wedding memorabilia. When my ex-husband moved out, he got the privilege of leaving all of that behind. Me? I hold on to it for our daughters but realizing that he could just walk away and not even take a single photo? Just felt a bit harsh.

    Memories are supposed to make us smile, right??

  4. I don’t have a box and I’m glad I don’t? Pictures are hard enough. I have files on my computer that are named “Do Not Look” or other various forms that have pics of me with these guys. Some still sting as if it happened yesterday. But I know those pics are there to remind me not to go through situations like that again. See- it just makes us stronger!

    btw- is it weird, I kinda want to see the ring?

  5. ((hugs))
    As T said memories are supposed to make us smile…they may still hurt at times, but they also hopefully eventually make you smile too. Especially when you realize you are better off, that you learned so much and that you are much stronger now and more YOU than you have ever been. I wish love a thousand times over for you, when you are ready for it.

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