'So, if all the reports say houses go up in flames in moments then why is this damn bookcase taking so long to light up?' I'm muttering and shaking my head. I was astonished actually. I'd been trying to burn that bookcase for quite a while and it was steadfastly refusing to go up in smoke.

It was a huge bookcase. About seven feet tall. An enormous, ugly, army green monolith that had been sitting in the middle of my garage forever. I'd been tripping over it, scooting around it, stacking stuff on top of it and had finally had it. It goes TODAY I had decided.

First I had to get the monstrosity out to the burn pile. It's too heavy to lift, too heavy to even drag. So there I was flipping it over and over covering the distance a couple feet at a time. I was determined. See, it was another of those items my near hoarder ex had brought home. Brought it home, then left it right in a walkway. Not even upright, laying flat and taking up the whole middle of the garage.

Then he never moved it because it was too heavy and he sure as hell didn't take it with him. So there I was stuck with it. I'd cleaned around it, gotten rid of a ton of other items but that green beast had remained.

So finally, there it was. On the burn pile. Actually, tilted on the concrete border of the pit because it is too damn big to fit inside. But good enough. So I build a fire next to it. I wait. Nope- wouldnt catch. I stoke that fire and build another inside between two of the shelves. Nope. No good. Built another underneath it. 'It's gotta burn now,'  I'm thinking. No- that damn bookcase steadfastly refused to do anything more than char.

I finally did what I should have done from the start. 'Loki... come help.'  Often Loki comes on His own to help with things but this time He didn't. I have to think it was partly due to this being something of the x's. He tends to stay out of some of those things, other than a few choice comments He had early on. The other part of His not volunteering to help is simply because some things we just need to do for ourselves. Sometimes there are things we need to recognize and deal with on our own. A modicum of self reliance is important- no one grows when wallowing in dependance.

He walks beside me, 'We'll see what happens babe, it may not (light).'  He's being nice, He often is when I've been flustered by something. Acts and speaks as though He may not be able to accomplish the task either. He does this when in husband mode... just maybe a husband with a few extra talents.

He takes a look, has me adjust a few things. Then He just stands by it, looking at the fire with those eyes just a bit too big for a human form, those eyes that tell the tale and whoosh! Up in roaring flames. He doesn't even look pleased, no big. I'm not as close, its hot near the fire and He comes to join me where I am sitting. We stand, watch the fire for a while. Then He says, 'It's good your taking care of it.'

I realize that fecking bookcase had become a last, vestigal annoyance, a final symbol to a life I had before. The kind of thing one leaves as a memento. That picture in the bottom of the box, that random note or item stuffed in a back corner. The thing you don't let go of after life changes. It's there so long you don't even notice it anymore but it niggles away in your mind. You can't ever get over something, you can't ever move on.

I'm not talking about baby pictures or other small sentimental keepsakes. I'm talking about those things that hold you back. Those unconscious subtle tags that say, 'You're it, this is it. Things are the same.' GK once wrote to me that sentimentality is sheer indulgence. To a point I agree. There is nothing wrong with hanging on to that graduation cap if it aides in remembering that sense of achievement.

There IS something wrong with keeping items around that only burden, that trip you up every time you walk by, things you stack new ways on top of precariously, items that force you to maneuver around every time you wish to move forward. Sometimes we leave those things around semi-purposely. For whatever reason, we indulge ourselves with something that will hold us back and prevent us from flying. Flight can be terrifying.

So we stood there and watched it burn. I grabbed some other branches and prunings that needed to flame and threw them on top intermittantly but most of the time just watched, steadily being unburdened as surely as the smoke rose, Loki by my side. We didn't really talk- just watched the flames and when it was burnt, when the bookcase was no more, we walked side by side into the house.

What mementos do you have?
by Russell Hansen. Click on the picture for his website.

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