I imagine there must be a whole storage unit somewhere in the desert dedicated to Unusable Things.
A stack of journals from your adolescent self, the one who believed in flying by the seat of her pants in all situations. An empty heart-shaped picture frame. Dried up rose petals. A rope necklace with a silver heart, a woven bracelet from an exotic place.
They stack up over time, piling into cluttered corners until every cubic inch of that climate-controlled facility is taken up by the Things that Break Hearts.
I could write a book and fill it with what each object means, each story hidden beneath the crooks of that seamless metal heart charm, every broken promise lying inside the back cover of that picture frame.
It would be enough to shock the world, knowing the way we hold onto things we’ll never use again because of the way its been tainted.
The can opener you used the first time you made him tomato soup on the stove. The pens he leant you when you were too cheap to buy your own at Staples for a dollar. The ear buds you meant to return but just forgot. The t-shirt that got kicked under your bed and never saw the light of day again.
All the objects, innocently enough, tried to be ordinary household items.
But we’re moving out, packing our necessities into boxes, when that shirt sees the light of the day for the first time in years. And it still smells like him: sweet sweat and a hint of cologne.
We can’t make a can of soup or look too closely at that scar on our wrist from the time he accidentally missed the colander and poured scalding water onto our arm.
So we do what we do best: we pack up those unusable things and ship them off.
Where do the plates that aren’t just plates go? The heart-shaped picture frames that were meant for only two smiling faces?
What about the shirts we can’t bear to bring to Goodwill or the half-eaten bag of M&Ms pushed to the back of the pantry?
How do we collect the little moments and pile them into the backs of our cars and drive them off a cliff when they seem so innocent and average?
Maybe we don’t.
Maybe we purchase a storage unit in the middle of sunny Arizona and ship them all out there with a note that says, “Do not return to sender. Under any circumstances.”
Maybe we pray our aunt who lives on the other side of the country has an empty shelf in her china closet waiting for all the things we couldn’t bear to keep.
By the way, every month I send out a short + sweet newsletter brimming with cool finds related to the monthly theme. It'd be stellar if you subscribed. If it's not worthy, it doesn't go in the newsletter. That. Simple.