Jagged Little Pieces: memories and repression

I opened the cabinet and watched in slow motion as a glass slid from my hand and shattered all over the kitchen. Barefoot, I scanned the floor like a hopscotch board, looking for squares of linoleum that were free from shards of glass. I slid my feet into my slippers, grabbed the broom and dustpan, and was able to search out and find every single sliver of glass.

I’ve reached into the cabinet countless times since that day. My slippers have spent more time under my bed than on my kitchen floor. And the remains of the glass have long since disappeared. Twenty-two mornings have passed since then.

At the counter, I relived my daily routine that involves coffee-sugar-cream-stir. (Admittedly, sometimes it’s more cream than coffee). Open fridge-return cream-stir coffee-head to front door-put on shoes.  Glass in my heel was not supposed to be part of the routine. And yet it was.

Life, memories, and relationships are no different. They can be jagged little pieces. Despite doing our best to clean them up and sweep them away, they reappear when we least expect them.

I see them everywhere: when I pick up the phone to call my father and realize he is no longer here, when I relive an unpleasant moment from my past in a dream that jars me awake, and when a movie reminds me of an ex.

But jagged little pieces can also provide comfort, solace, and happiness in the surprise of the moment. Like the out-of-the-blue phone call from a childhood friend I haven’t spoken to in years, or when tears of pain suddenly change into tears of joy because of an unexpected joke, or when I find an incredible love note hidden in a drawer.

Our past, our memories, and our choices come back, bubble to the top, and find us, irrespective of whether they were good or bad. Sometimes they become the bill we were not expecting and sometimes they become the money we find in the pocket of an old pair of jeans.

They remind us that life is a combination of good and bad experiences. That it is up to us whether we will choose to repress the good memories or choices or repress the bad, that being out of control is a part of life, and that either way, the sum of all parts makes us human.