I learned chemistry from my mother and my mothers mother.
The art of keeping people even after they are gone. Being kept.
Souvenirs. Wrap sheets full of the things people leave behind.
People left behind.
Always being left.
Rarely doing the leaving.
No. Instead of leaving, mixing.
Cakes, cookies, putting on weight.
Baking delicacies for people and simply leaving them at ones gate.
Showing up, even when you’ve been left.
Keeping people, even after they’ve gone.
My dad has two closets. Still keeps clothes he can’t wear.
A basement full of pictures of him with a full head of hair.
Family vacations. Weddings. Births.
Boxes full of memories because maybe, sometimes, displaying them hurts.
Packing. Moving. Going away.
All of this shit has to come down off my walls. It cannot stay.
“Gabby, why did you throw all your art away?”
“Because, it doesn’t fit who I am anymore Mom. Doesn’t fit who I want to be.”
“Okay, but you still should’ve kept some of it, you know, for the memories.”
I never learned how to throw things away.
Not routinely. Not systematically. Not at the exact moment it was time to.
Purging was reserved for spring cleaning and before going back to school.
Getting rid of things at the beginning of a season or start of a new chapter.
Never sure the protocol for disposing of something outside those time parameters.
Knowing something doesn’t fit anymore but figuring some time in the gym might make it right. Holding out hope that one day, it would fit less tight.
Fit less tight, and maybe a bit loose.
But, not just right, for just right is only something to aspire to.
No, I learned to look at things for their sentimental value.
Sentiment I wish I never had.
Memories I don’t regret making, but would be glad to forget.
Heart that won’t stop aching.
Smelling in the street.
Maybe I hold on to so much because I’m afraid if I give it all away,
The smell of you, feel of you, taste of you, touch of you, will away fade too –
Just like the memories do.
Souvenirs. A Pack rat. Afraid to let go.
I keep people even after they have gone.
Probably because, it is I who wants to be kept.