Moving house is a stressful business … anecdotally it ranks in the top five amid marriage, divorce, kids, and something else like cheese-making. Blessed are they? Nah, just a little on the stressed side. Maybe it’s dying.
Anyway, it’s one of those times when we often choose to pile stress upon stress, and ‘sort out our life’ as well. This sorting often takes place in the relationships cupboard, or the job drawer, or occasionally, just occasionally, the wardrobe of life-mission. Me? Well, my relationship imploded a few weeks before I moved, I don’t have a job as such, and well … life-mission? Me? Exactly.
I have realised, with the removal of boxes and boxes from all over the place, that there’s an awful lot of detritus which has been following me around for, well … some of it I recognise from when I was a child. This is not good. No, not at all. One of my peripheral aims, while making this house into something approachig a home, is to, ahem, streamline my life.
I know, I sound like a self-help addict … but I got bored of counting old keys when I realised I had about six bunches to accompany the many and varied single, unidentified and unidentifiable keys which loiter, fully aware of their pointlessness … they know the chance of them ever finding their true and singular partner is probably less than zero.
And no, the metaphorical value of this key business crept up on me unawares.
There is a school of thought variously blamed on Aristotle, Sex in the City, and who knows who or what else, that we as humans are inhabited by an essence which is but half of a whole, and that we strive our entre lives to discover our other half. Hmm. Total bollocks, naturally, but very seductive bollocks.
Have you found ‘the one’, or just ‘one’? All that rubbish fed on innumerable films, books, fairy tales (Oh, come on … you think Cinderella’s about shoes?) which we still lap up like thirsty dogs when stuck in front of our noses.
We meet someone, and we fall … amusing that the word we use is the same one used by the Bible for Adam and Eve’s movement from the Garden of Eden to the vale of tears which is the world, Milton’s term for the banishment of the rebellious angels from heaven, the word we use for when a reformed alcoholic picks up the bottle once again: the word which, in any othe combination, indicates failure and imminent pain, if not death.
We all have.
So, the point, the point. No, don’t be silly …
So, I’m clearing out one of the drawers in my bureau, a drawer inhabited by fundamentally the same things since I acquired it, some, oh … fifteen years ago?
What do I find, but the detritus from one of these fallings. This is my buttonhole from my wedding some [ahem] years ago. We split three years ago. For reasons which you may hear in person, subject to applications being accompanied by a suitable bottle or two of wine.
It’s been in this drawer for over five years. This, I feel, is long enough. I have not kept it to remain connected to her – it is not a physical stand-in for the metaphorical torch. I’ve just kept it. I can’t remember when I last opened this drawer. It was cushioned with toilet paper, crossed with an allen wrench, a paper clip, an unidentified piece of metal, and my place setting from the top table.
I will burn it. It’s more poetic than sticking it in the bin, which strikes me as wrong somehow. Disrespectful, though I’m not sure to whom or to what.
It won’t mark the end of an era, a symbolic casting aside of the relationship – we cast it aside several years ago, as amicably as can be expected. We now live about three streets apart.
It will simply be.
You see, moving house, marriage, divorce … three out of five already … it’s this sort of thing which tells me that de-cluttering can be bad for your health.