Monday, November 8, 2010

Burning Party

I didn't think I was that dramatic of a person...but Saturday my Mom and stepdad Scott found me out back ripping old love letters out of their plastic page protectors and hurling them into one of those old metal garbage cans that doesn't come up any higher than your thigh. When they realized what I intended to do (and that there was pretty much no stopping me), Scott ran to get a grate to cover the can to minimize the ash-spewing and my mom tried to rationalize that the whole process would be good for me--cathartic. You know, letting my past stay just where it should--in the past.

I was surprised at how hard it was at first. I kept trying to rationalize the keeping of certain letters or certain recuerdos, justifying that they were parts of my history and that they might "make it into my writing someday." But when I saw the flames kicking up their legs higher and higher into the air, I kinda just let loose and tossed in everything---photos, notes, hand-drawn pictures... And then the tears started coming. Not too many. A few trickles that were wiped quickly away. I almost lost the nerve about a tenth of the way into the process, but two people saved me: my old boss Bruce and then Matt.

Bruce happens to be my back-door neighbor and strolled through the gate separating our yards to say hello. When he saw the semi-large bonfire emitting forth from the garbage can, he jokingly asked, "Whatcha burnin'? Love letters?" When I answered in the affirmative, his face blanked, unable to find anything appropriate to say. So he mumbled something about how sometimes we need to just let the past go, and returned through the still-open red gate to return to his mowing.

And when Matt walked into the backyard and came over and just wrapped his arms around me, I knew I was doing the right thing. My future looks much brighter than any flickering spark a past momento could hope to incite in me.

I did feel kinda like a mad-woman though, at the end of it all---hair blowing in the wind, poking at the flames, reeking of smoke. It was a good weekend.

I sure do like this geek-boy!


  1. haha, funny how we all kind of need that experience, as if it was some sort of rite of passage to make the next step in life (whatever that is). I remember that rationalizing as well, pretty clearly actually. It's hard to see so much effort and kindness at my expense almost wasted. However, now i don't feel the past is coming back after me. It's like rereading those emails and letters, or seeing those pictures that used to evoke ALOT of emotion inside me is now a waste of time, and if they were to still stir my emotions, I would feel that I am having some kind of emotional affair. BlecK!- get those as far away from me as possible please! From the other side, curiosity got the best of me some lonely afternoon a few years ago, and I went looking in John's old things, well- that didn't go well, and I'll tell you what, I got pretty frustrated and upset over some girl falling in love with my man, before I even knew he existed.
    the letters and momentos i have from John, I do keep (obviously). They do evoke emotion, and it is ok, and so I fall in love with John all over again! I'll keep happy memories of old guy friends with less detail, not erased, because they have a lot to do with who i am today, but in the past, where they belong!

  2. There is something about fire that is extremely appropriate symbolism for starting fresh. Letting the ashes fly high to heaven where the one who understands us best will consume all of our hurt into the flame and heal us, changing us. Happy burning day Torrie! Glad Matt was there to wrap his arms around you.

  3. Burning is much better than cutting. The saddest thing was when I tried to rip a picture in half and I could barely do it because of the plastic coating... :)


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