Something about a banged-up old pair of ratty Chucks can make you feel like a rock star on any given day. And something about some crappy mixtape song from an ex-boyfriend can make you feel like the worst moody sailor on any given day. What is it about these trinkets we pour our power into, that they can stick pins into our hearts and turn them like keys, and change our course of events?
I wasn’t thinking about April the morning I almost married June. I was beaming so hard it took me an hour to shave because I couldn’t get around those folds of flesh where my cheeks bunched up- I remember this because I need to. I need to remember that I had no doubts.
June was so happy we were finally doing this. After sticking with me for six years I knew she deserved my full commitment and I was happy to finally give it. I was happy. We were happy.
I knew June was happy that morning because she said so on a scrap of a note taped to a cardboard box of books. She’d had them delivered to me since I wasn’t allowed to see her yet- “Reading material for the longest wait of your life, from the happiest woman in the universe.” It was tongue-in-cheek and it was sweet and it was a perfect gift.
I don’t think she probably remembers our first real argument now, it was so long ago. But I can still see her thick ponytail swaying to the beat of her shrilling concerto, The Royal Chewing-Out of Sir Boyfriend. She wanted me to get rid of all the stuff I had of April’s, but it wasn’t really April’s stuff. It was hers and mine together that she had let me keep: a painting of trees I had done while listening to her sing in the shower, a couple of old jazz records, a flannel button-down we both had worn intermittently, a few books, and a tea kettle painted to look like a ladybug. June said they were “remnants of an old life” which needed to be thrown out to make room for a new one. She “said” this while she was a rational human but now she was just a jealous screaming Mimi because I didn’t think it was worth putting up a fuss over.
At that time I wouldn’t have bothered to explain myself and I didn’t. I just let her sirens wash over me and thought of April while I packed up our stuff. April with the soft, low voice, who grew jasmine flowers in a coffee can and wore them in her hair. April who thought that I would do big things and left when I didn’t, or couldn’t. I told June I was throwing all that stuff out but I didn’t. She found it anyway sometime after that and finished the job for me. She told me she had thrown it out but she didn’t.
I don’t know what June did that day when I told her I would marry her, when I didn’t. I could never explain to her what had changed so quickly, so I didn’t bother. What is it about these trinkets we pour our power into, that can make us believe we’ve changed quickly when we’ve been doing it slowly all along? June thought she got rid of April and for all she’ll ever know she did- except a thrift store book of nursery rhymes with a tiny jasmine flower pressed inside.