avatarScarlet Ibis James 🦩

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PERSONAL ESSAY | DECLUTTERING | SOUL MAGAZINE

Memories Are Forever

But these don’t rise until we open the box, and then they hold us hostage.

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My friend Ted Czukor delivered a reading of one of his stories to our writer/reading group this weekend.

When he talked about the simple things he remembers, it made me think about the extensive cleanup our family is currently doing.

You see, when we moved from Connecticut to New York City, we brought many boxes that have lingered and multiplied over the years.

Finally, we hoped to get rid of them completely.

We reasoned, ‘Well, since we have not opened them for years, we can just gift them to The Salvation Army or Goodwill.’

However, whenever we unsealed each old box of memories, we discovered items that held sentimental value. Letting go of them through trash, recycling bins, or donation sites proves difficult.

Even though we hadn’t thought about these items in the year since we left Connecticut, the eleven years since leaving Atlanta, or the eighteen years they’ve been stored away when we left Norcross — the memories resurface as vividly as ever.

Will we be able to part with them?

“People who have been away …fewer years than you, they return and pretend they speak no [the language].” “Perhaps they can’t.” “Is it so easy to forget?” “Some people need to forget,” he said. “I need to remember.” (13.94, Breath, Eyes, Memory — Edwidge Danticat)

© Scarlet Ibis James, 2023: All Rights Reserved.

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