For the first time in several weeks, I have free time – no place I need to be, no deadlines, nobody waiting for me to perform a task. So I thought that I’d do some writing. But I’m not sure what I feel like writing about. I promised I’d do another blog post, but do I want to write about the things that have been keeping me so busy (and often stressed) since we arrived in Mesa Regal? Or do I want to re-establish my Memoir Monday theme?
I opened one of my memoir files and found a short piece of writing that could become the introduction to a Memoir. I’ve decided to share it with you, my readers to see what you think.
It started several years ago with an assignment in an online writing course that I was taking. We were to write a story using dialogue only, with an inanimate object in the room where we were writing.
I’ve incorporated that concept into this introduction. I hope you’ll let me know how you like the style, and if the introduction makes you want to know more.
Me: Good morning Desk. Are you ready to inspire me today?
Desk: Good morning Judy. Sure, how can I help?
Me: I need some writing ideas. I’ve been thinking about how you came to be mine and how we’ve shared many a move.
Desk: Yes, I remember. You’ve dismantled me many times and left me wondering if I’d ever be whole again, or if you would finally abandon me like my previous owner.
Me: You know there have been times when I almost did because you are so big and take up so much room in small places, but that’s one of the things I love about you. I just had to find room for you. It’s lucky that you can be disassembled and reassembled quite easily though. You would never have fit through the doorways! Ha, ha.
The decision was made. I could no longer take the emotional abuse. I’d done my best to become what he seemed to want, but now his sights were set on something completely the opposite. I’d spent nearly a year giving him his space, trying to figure out what I’d done wrong. He gave me no answers. He didn’t want to go for counseling. He had no desire to save the marriage. There didn’t seem to be any hope left. So we packed up what belongings I could take with me and piled them onto the back of the truck: the old white iron bed from the room I’d been sleeping in lately, the one without the brass trim and newer mattress; a small chest of drawers that had been in our son, Brendan’s, room once. It still had some pencil scribbles on the soft brown finish; the pine drop-leaf table that had been a wedding gift from my sister; four restored wooden kitchen chairs; the divan with the faded, blue-flowered cover, a recent yard-sale purchase. It would fold out into a bed for Brendan when he came to visit; the old blue metal steamer trunk that held the bed and bathroom linens. I sighed with regret that I could not take the big old oak desk. I could sure use it for my studies, but there was no way that it would fit into the one bedroom apartment. The little laminate one that Mom bought me would have to do.
In the awkward moment after the last box had been removed from the truck, he wished me luck, his eyes avoiding mine, and disappeared up the stairs, leaving Brendan behind to help me with the unpacking and setting up. That was it then; twenty-two years of struggling through life together and this was how it would end. Well, best get on with it.
Brendan and I spent the next few hours organizing my space. I wasn’t yet familiar with my new neighbourhood, but we found a convenience store where I picked up a few kitchen staples like bread and milk and juice. Dinner was a sub from the snack bar.
“So what do you think? How do you like my new digs?”
“Yeah, it’s cool.”
At fifteen, Brendan was a lad of few words even at the best of times. I wanted so much to reach inside to see how he was taking all of this, but the door was closed tight. I’d given him the choice of moving with me, but silently agreed that it was for the best when he decided to stay on the farm with his father. He had only two more years of high school left. He was somewhat of a loner and giving up the few friends he had to start anew in an unfamiliar city would have been even harder on him. Still my heart ached for him. The next day we drove the fifty miles back to the farm in near silence. A quick hug and he was gone. I sat for a minute and looked at the weathered boards on the addition to the old stone house. I thought about the warmth and coziness of the fire in the stove, the restored old light fixtures we’d picked out at my father-in-laws antique shop, and the gleaming pine boards on the floor, all just inside the door where Brendan had entered. All of it was gone from me now.
Brushing the tears from my cheeks, I shifted the car into drive and headed down the lane, beginning my return journey alone.
I soon settled into my studies, and much to my surprise, I enjoyed it. I’d never before been much of a scholar, barely getting by. At the end of the first semester I was in the top ten of my class. I made friends with a group of “mature” students, and we all supported each other. For a time I was even flattered by the attention of one of the male students who followed me around like a puppy dog.
Now, fifteen years later, I look back on those twenty-two years of my life as if I’m looking at someone else, and I recognize that the day I carried the last box down the stairs into that little apartment was the biggest turning point of my life. My Old Oak Desk can vouch for that!