“A way to discard unwanted odds and ends, so that you may focus on the parts of yourself that matter.”
That’s how my grandmother described the old wooden chest back when she left it in my care.
I went years without using it once, you know. I think it started after a fight we had, about something I can’t even recall. Probably something silly. But at that moment, it was the push I needed.
It started with small things, to test it out. First to go, I recall, was the part of me that got all passive-aggressive when waiting after someone.
It hurt like hell on the way out. I was convinced I’d done something wrong. Yet sure enough, the next time we were late for a party, I was cool as a cucumber. It really worked.
Since then, I have been upgrading myself in secret, whenever I had an opportunity. Of course, the part that hurt was early to go. I was not about to go through that dozens of times.
The order didn't matter as much afterward.
I took out the part of me that didn’t want to take the clothes out from the dryer, knowing that you would get to it. The me that talked too much and kept interrupting you. The me that left people on read when I was too tired for human interaction. The me who couldn't keep a diet going for more than a week. The me who kept repeating jokes when they didn’t land, just in case. The me that cared too much, and the me that didn’t care enough.
Each day, closer and closer to the version of myself you’d like the most...
But that lofty dream ended up just out of reach.
You know, I had no idea what to do, the other day, when you caught me in the act. When you started bawling and screaming. When you took my odds and ends away from me.
I didn’t get it. I don’t get it. All of this, I’d been doing for you.
And since then, you’ve been trying so many times to get the pieces back in.
I really wish you weren’t. Your hands shake too much, so most of it ends up falling right off.
Plus I'm pretty sure you put the part that hurts back in first.
But every time I am about to utter a word of complaint, I see the determined look on your face, and I just can’t find it in me to stop you.
For some reason, today, I even felt like smiling back too. Not sure why.
You know, it has been a while since I…
When was it, I wonder, that this got in there?