Monday, February 16, 2004


Brain Cleaning

In the midst of some half-assed spring cleaning last week, I decided it was finally time to share with Shelly the contents of my Big Box O' Love, a collection of artifacts pertaining to both past girlfriends and past-wished-they-had-been-my-girlfriends.

The plan, agreed to long ago, was to purge the box as we went through it, since I'm now a happily married man, and no longer need to dwell on the possibilities that were once inherent in the ticket stub from a viewing of Beauty and the Beast with JR.

The most fun was had going through old letters from Miss Hell. There was a loopy logic at work there, either mad brilliance, or, more likely, brilliant madness. I took great pleasure in disposing of those.

At Shelly's insistence, I disposed of the few physical artifacts I had of CP. Surprisingly, I felt a bit of a sting at this. CP was the last one before Shelly, less than five years ago. At the time, even though it was a long-distance thing limited to the phone and the internet, I had a huge emotional investment in that relationship. Perhaps if CP hadn't been so afraid to actually MEET, things could have gone differently. But afraid she was, and she lost. Shelly won, and so did I. Now CP seems less real to me than a video game character.

Beyond that, though, I didn't get rid of much. Some of it was just too funny to let go, like my 1988 Prom picture with WB. But the rest of it, even ten or fifteen years later, I just found that it still meant something...

My pen pal letters from AS

A message from CD, written on the back of her school picture, from before I found out what she was really like.

My theater ticket with RR.

The roll of pictures KW asked me to take, along with the cover of the mix tape I made her.

The postcards from JH after she went to college.

A long letter to myself, written at 4AM on a Denny's napkin, trying to sort out my crush on LC.

Shelly is the one, the only one I want to be with. But all the others, the ones represented in the box, they helped make me who I am today. I carry a little piece of each of them inside me, whether anything actually happened or not, whether they realize it or not. Even Miss Hell.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

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