Friday, November 2, 2012

Cleaning the Past

One of the most heart wrenching things a hurricane victim goes through is cleaning up after the storm, scrounging through the debris and deciding which of your possessions are salvageable and what is destined for the trash heap,

I spent a good part of the morning sifting through my water-logged things. It wasn't easy confronting those saturated possessions. Some were easily replaceable graphic novels and books, while others, like playbills from my trip to London in1994, including Patrick Stewart's remarkable performance in A Christmas Carol, were sentimental. I lost many CDs holding computer files, including ones with my writing. I dare not contemplate which short stories, novels or essays were lost within, just that I backed them up on those discs and now they're gone forever.

I ended up throwing away five plastic trash bags filled with soaked books, papers and CDs, and I feel I only scratched the surface of what's really gone. I curse myself for not storing them in a safer place and leaving them on the floor or on the lowest bookshelf. The water entered my closet, and my shoes and other clothing succumbed to flood waters as well.

The landlord is having the wet carpeting torn up today, and that is somewhat of a relief, but moving all my furniture and remaining possessions requires time and effort.

My thoughts shift to a dull kind of depression, a gloomy yet begrudgingly state of melancholy. The thought of temporarily relocating and ridding myself of items which bring me comfort rattles my sense of security, yet I'm compelled to reluctantly soldier on, to put up a brave front. This entire process of digging through my stuff and realizing what I've lost is jarring, yet I can only do what I must in order to move on. I cannot wallow in sorrow or pretend fate has slighted me. I can only move forward, to rid myself of damaged property, and to remember all things, even personal treasures, are fleeting.

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