Sunday, January 24, 2016
Once It Has Been Opened
Once it has been opened, you know it will not keep. I think I heard that in a movie pertaining to wine or other alcoholic spirits. I have used it to refer to dark chocolate bars and from time to time ice cream. But lately it seems to mean memories. Open as the first rush of remembering, and keep as closing them back off again.
And it is not just about Las Vegas, New Mexico, but also the Bruce years. He died in October 2015 which did not bring those memories rushing back. But a mutual good friend has been helping his daughter sort through stuff, boxes and boxes of stuff. Dianne recently brought me a couple boxes of things she thought I might want to see. Things Sue did not want. Memories she did not want to open. I am at this moment not that sure I wanted to either. I totally understand why Sue escaped back to the coast fast. Today is sometimes only safe because we have closed off yesterday.
But the Bruce years were a significant part of my life. Bruce introduced me to John Steinbeck, Moby Dick, Tennessee Williams, and William Shakespeare. In the years I was with him I learned I could act, design costumes and theater sets, write poetry, and even a 400 page novel. But when I fled his company all I knew was what I had lost. Me.
I am reminded of Marc Anthony's funeral oration for Julius Caesar, "The evil men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with the bones. So let it be with Caesar."
I remember the first time I read about the Stockholm Syndrome I immediately identified. I took my car, my dog, a few boxes of writings and some journals, and me. In a life filled with photography the years with Bruce contained no pictures I had taken. The boxes Dianne brought up had those he had taken. Those, except for his many loves on the side, were mostly of the good times. The picture perfect times with his daughters on vacations. Or documentation of the plays we were in and roles played.
And there were the letters. Ones I wrote from Indianapolis and Traverse City. The ones I wrote in response I assume to his pleas for me to return. The ones where I tried to lay out that it was daily less and less possible it would happen. Re-reading those gems I am grateful I escaped. And would like to slam the door on all the memories forgotten, but for those photos of Kris and Sue and I with my poodle Brandy sitting on the porch swing at the Hawkinson house on a farm outside Lindsborg, Kansas.
Too bad we cannot reverse what Marc Anthony spoke by way of William Shakespeare.
I will keep the photos. I will take all the love letters he wrote to all the affairs in his life and burn them unopened with the pictures he always showed me. Flaunted. I will keep the poetry and inter the horror of those years.