Life's Sweet Journey: Inanimate Objects

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Inanimate Objects

It's just an old copper frame, bent together in the shape of a porch. You look it at and you may think it's cute, you may think it's not your style or you may think nothing at all. I look at it and I see life. I see memories. I see an old kitchen wall, above an outdated sink. I see the years of life spent growing up in the kitchen of a condo by the sea. I see my Mimi.

It is just an object. An inanimate object meant to be a decoration to adorn some space in time. It's funny how to the right eye it means so much more than that. It means all of those years that I had with her, it means seeing her smile in my mind and hearing her voice as if she was right here next to me. It means seeing aged hands, wet with sudsy bubbles, from doing the dishes that I very seldom helped to dry because the dishwasher was for drying the dishes (you knew that right?). It means everything.

When someone is alive and we have them living and breathing right within our grasp? An object stays just an inanimate thing. When they are gone? Those objects hold a part of them. They hold the time we took for granted and they give us a brief moment of having them back with us. Even if only in our heads.

I never thought I would agree that Voldemort could get anything right... but there is truth in objects having power, in objects being able to hold life. They have the power to give us back moments, they have the power to hold memories. They have the power to make them alive within us. Yes, we can have those memories without them. But somehow the day-to-day life is blinding. An object, right in front of our faces? It draws our focus, it dusts off the cobwebs and pulls the memories out.

This old tin porch will always do that for me. It's the same as a cross. It pulls out Jesus. It helps me to pause, to remember. It holds the memory of sacrifice, the promise of love.

Sometimes these objects are the things you keep close, the things you hold on to; like a cross that a put on your mantle or an old copper porch that sits by your front door. And sometimes these objects are everyday things that catch you off guard. Things that get thrown away and discarded until another one stumbles across your path to remind you again.

For me those will always be:
Single serve coffee creamers- I don't use these often, so when I do it always stops me. I see coffee in a small tan mug from Morrison's or Piccadilly. I hear myself beg to pour the creamer in and stir it until it was blended. I hear myself say that I will never, NOT EVER, drink coffee. And I see my Mimi smile and nod, because she is in on the joke. You know the one; the one adults know, that meant she knew that someday I would be guzzling it by the case load.
E-cigarettes- I don't smoke, not my thing. But E-cigarettes are these rage these days. They will always be my brother. I will hear him trying to coax me into just taking one puff, because I just HAVE to try his new flavor mix. It's his breakfast special (coffee and cinnamon bun) and he says there's no way out as he shoves it in my mouth. I hear him laugh at the way I cough because I don't know how to inhale and so I end up swallowing it. I listen as he tries to coach me threw it, while he explains it's just vapor, as he makes it come out his nose. I see him standing proud behind a sales desk, because he was born to sell and found his niche. I see all of that every time some young kid passes by with vapor blowing behind him.

Carrot-raisin Salad- I see my own hands picking out all of the raisins, because who in the world eats nasty carrots as a kid? I hear Mimi "scold" me, telling me "not to take out ALL of her raisins".
Titanic on a VHS (you know, the one in it's two part box holder)- I saw it not long ago while rifling through old Disney movies at my parents. There it was, box inside of box. It sat lonely, without its accompanying second part video and I could see it all. I could see the endless amount of hours that John Wayne spent sprawled in front of the tv, just laying on his stomach and twirling his hair, watching Titanic (I think his record was pushing 50). I can picture the foot- my foot- the one I used when I got so mad at him one day that I kicked one of those tapes. It hit the railing and then slipped right through, traveling in a head first fall of doom, to crash on the first floor entry-way tile below. I can still hear the screams and feel the hands I flung over my head from ducking and covering from the wrath I knew was imminent. I can remember feeling bad that it broke, but I can also remember the smirk that crossed my face in my selfish moment of "serves you right" sister-ness. It's funny how you can feel bad about the desire you felt to get angry at someone and then wish in the same moment that you could get mad at them, that you could have one of those 'brother-and-sister-constantly-at-war' brawls again. Titanic will always do that to me.

A watermelon truck- I see my grandpa and how he would always have a piece of watermelon in hand whenever they were in season and how he would put salt on them and how my mom still does that. I can see the pictures in my head as I hear her tell me all the stories about how he would chase down the watermelon trucks when he saw them on the road and how he would make them pull over so that he got the first pick of the watermelons for the season.
A Glass of Sweet Tea- This ones tricky. It's not the object itself. It's the taste. It's the feeling of it going down my throat and when it hits just right, when it tastes just right that it's almost perfect (though will never make it to spot on, because it isn't hers), then I can see Aunt DeeDee. I can see my sister's sweet mom, standing in her kitchen, behind the island that jutted out from the side. I can see her hand me a to-go glass with this perfect combination of all things right in a glass of tea. I can feel the sweat from the cup and I can hear her voice and see her bright smile. I can still feel the way my arms could wrap completely around her, even when I was so young, because she was always the tiniest thing and always just the perfect height for a great hug. 

There are so many others I could put down, most that I couldn't even try to bring to mind right now if you asked me to. They won't come. Not until that object finds its way into my field of vision and jogs the hidden parts of my memories and it all comes flooding back again. The memories, the moments, the life... all in one glimpse of an inanimate object.


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