Deep inside a wooden chest lies a shoebox. Once as bright as a freshly picked tangerine now as milky as the inside of the peel. Formerly home to a brand new pair of shoes along with all the daydreams and hope of the future they might be a part of. Now imprisons the past. My past. Intentionally put in a place that is ever so slightly out of reach. Just enough to create a barrier between me… Me and her.
I open the bulging box, confetti of well wishes and love spews out from it.. They almost look like they’re gaining new colour as they breathe in the fresh air trying to capture my attention like a viperfish attracting its prey. I start to rummage through the scattered items that have broken free. A signed fashion show leaflet from when I was a child, a keyring filled with Tenerife sand that my sister got me from her first holiday, a pink playboy petrol lighter my mum brought me – the first and last lighter she got me, letters many letters from my family friends and birthday cards every birthday card I’ve received from the past ten years.
‘To George, let me know what you spend the money on, love dad’.
Tear drops balloon from my eyes before I can consciously understand why.
‘I’m proud of you’ ‘beautiful young woman’ ‘amazing’.
Words I don’t remember ever reading before. Had they been written all along? Why am I only seeing them now? Large droplets fall on my arms yet my face is stoic, my eyes are still first to know, to see what it is I am ignoring. I don’t want to ignore it anymore I want to breathe in the hurt. I want to drown in the knowledge that I didn’t see his efforts until it was too late. To accept that I was part of the problem. I want to grab him and hug him the way I should’ve the last day I saw him. I yearn for the satisfaction of a resolved ended. I have picked the scab of a wound but would I be able to see it scar? It is all I can do but twist my face, jerk my shoulders and rock my sitting body on the floor. To let the guilt seep out of me and hope that maybe just maybe he can hear me giving him the goodbye I should have given him 3 years ago to the day.