Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Object of My Affection

About a year ago I was on vacation, trying to escape some dark times here at home. I felt strong and powerful for what I had been surviving, but at the same time I felt like much of it was surreal, like a bad TV movie. As I browsed shops and boutiques, I had this sense of needing a ‘souvenir’ to remind me of surviving such difficulties and remaining (somewhat) sane.

It was in one trendy little boutique just off State Street that I found a heavy stone with the word “Believe” intricately carved into it. It seemed to fit: I needed to believe in myself and believe in the idea of justice and moving on. I bought it and gave it a place of honor on my dresser. I remembered all of this yesterday as I was dusting the dresser: moving the lamp, my one perfume bottle, the assorted photographs, and the candy dish from my mom. As I picked up the rock, I realized with a start, that it was just a rock.

Not that I had attributed any powers to it other than a memory point; it certainly wasn’t my personal talisman. The word “Believe” seemed so insignificant and trivial for all that I had imagined it would mean to me. For one thing, I needed no souvenir, it’s not like I could ever forget. I knew I was strong without needing the rock to tell me so. And “believe”? Of course I believed in the future, isn’t that why I keep getting out of bed every day and moving forward?

It was there, next to the vacuum and with the dusting rag still in my hand that I realized, for all my intentions, I had been mistaken. That object, the silly gray rock with the blue granite veins swirling through, was something that pushed me backward. It pushed me back into remembering things I had hoped to leave behind in the effort of moving forward. It was just a rock.  It now sits in a box on a closet shelf.

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