Yesterday I was doing laundry and piddling when I came across my journal from my final year of marriage and the months of separation until the divorce was final. I took it to the closet and stashed it out of sight on the top shelf. Then I saw it. An old popcorn tin filled with letters from when we were dating. Those letters had been there for 18 years … 18 years.
Of course I took them out, unfolded them and quickly skimmed them. “I miss you.” “You are the best girl a guy could have.” “We should talk about our future together when I get back.” “I love you.”
We were so young. And so clueless. We were 23 when we got married and had barely lived away from our parents much less experienced life as adults.
Instead of putting those letters back in their hiding place, I took the tin full of paper and ink and memories and once-upon-a-time love to the patio and set it on fire.
I watched the sweet words curl up and become ashes as the flames rose. It was as if my heart was being cauterized. Sure, a tear rolled down my cheek as I thought about what we had for a short while. I wiped it away and stirred the scraps in the tin again, making sure every envelope and sheet of notebook paper felt the burn.
After I was satisfied that most every piece had been touched by the fire, I poured water into the tin and headed back inside.
Throughout the evening I peeked out the door, watching as the ink, ash, and paper froze. Like my heart.
And like the ice will eventually melt, someday, so will my heart.