What-Not Drawer

The end of another year is an enchanting, peculiar time for me. It is a time of reflection and introspection, excavating for answers to questions posed in the previous year? Am I a better person? Did I mark something off my bucket list? Do I have any regrets?

One day recently, a poetry writing friend whom I had not seen in about a year walked through the door at a holiday celebration. As soon as I laid eyes on him, I realized how much I had missed his company.  Without his passion, I might not have pursued my dreams of becoming a poet. It was his loving embrace of words that made me want to know more about writing. . .and such peculiarities.

He seemed happy while at the celebration and pleased to see me. We chatted for quite a while, talking about how our lives had evolved and what, if any, creative writing projects we had embarked upon. Regretfully, as with so many artists, neither of us had been as consistent as we would like; obligations to spouse, family and work taking inevitable precedent over both of our writing lives.

As a writer, the reality is that unless your name is Toni Morrison or Alice Walker, sometimes you gotta get up and show up at your job.

However, seeing my old friend seemed strange because even though I had a huge crush on him and felt a connection beyond the words, I choose to forgo a relationship with him because of my instinctive sensibilities. In other words, he was already married to someone else and had I chose to travel down that lustful road I would have been making a big mistake. Even a toddler would know better than to put that in his mouth. Nevertheless, I believe had I allowed myself the luxury of engaging in a relationship with him, I think the two of us might have been good together.

Thus, the memories of our time together becomes one of many regrets; one of my might-have-beens’ that rests in what I think of as the “What-Not Drawer” of my life. I do not regret forgoing the relationship as much as I regret how I ended the relationship. We were becoming close, enjoying more and more of each other’s company for longer and longer periods of time. We were getting to really know each others’ hearts. This is always the secret that manifests itself for my partner and becomes the forbidden shame of forming a relationship with me.

I always manage to sabotage the relationship, ending the friendship the way I end all friendships: I pull out everything hard and fast. I look over my shoulder, shut the imaginary door between them and me and set the lock. Occasionally I look through the peephole to see if my victim is, after a reasonable time, still standing there. I see the shocked, hurt expression on their face, but there is nothing I am willing to do at that point. So I live with a what-not drawer full of bad memories and a few regrets. Memories of my time with this sweet, sweet man remain tucked neatly in that drawer.

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