Maybe you should let be what has been, maybe you should let be what will be, maybe you should concentrate all your skills on what you have in front of you, on a few rust-red rocks, on a branch of that bush teeming with tiny lice that produce a bubbly, sweet sap?
For the past couple of months I made attempts at decluttering, not in the fashionable sense, I am not a minimalist or whatever, no intentions of creating space for new clear design ideas - the gaps here and there look quite hideous in fact. But for the time being, this is a lockdown space anyway. Who cares, I am not entertaining interior designers.
No it's all a precautionary measure after I read the story of the married couple dying of covid within days of each other. Plus the memory of the day, the morning, it didn't even take a day, after the old man across the road had died and the container which was placed under the balcony and two guys threw all the stuff, everything, sheets and books and china and the tv, into it, showing off their muscles. Also, my only child far away. Also, the virus restrictions. And more.
As of now, I am still at the stage where I take every item into my hands before it goes.
I sold a mountain of books I obviously will never read again, I immediately invested the money into food and wine, and just a few audio books. I donated another mountain of books to the various open access public libraries we have in parks and along the river promenades.
There are so many books left. I decided I'll give them a rest for the time being. In other words, I have reached the shelves with the poetry and the Irish authors and the German history (crime and popular fiction was easy).
Instead I am now digging my way through two large old steamer trunks (from my grandparents) full of letters and calendars and diaries. I found the big sheet of cardboard where R timed the contractions during labour and my breastfeeding diary with the weight chart of my premature baby. It's not an accurate record, just a jumble of sheets of paper filled with the scratchy handwriting of a overly tired woman in the early hours of nights spent nursing. I found the big fat sign we made when I started labour, the one I would read over and over and over again for the next 33 hours: "Rain after all is only rain, not bad weather. So also, pain is only pain, unless we resist it, then it becomes torment".
I am trying to figure out what to do with all that. The premature baby is long grown up and gone, with her own birthing and nursing memories.
This morning, I read a letter my brother wrote to me in the summer before my father did his disappearing act. I was far away on the other side of the equator then. He is not a man of many words, my brother, but there was that: "When she saw us arriving, she tried to walk out to the garden gate but tottered and fell on the way and my first thought was, run, but in the end, I put the kids back in the car and walked over to help her up. She stank of booze. Just be glad you are not here."
I put that letter back in the thick brown envelope where I had stuffed all his other letters, not many, but still.
Where should this go to? Paper recycle bin? Rubbish? Compost? I asked him, he doesn't want to have any of it.