Last week, my ex-wife and I planned to get rid of her old car, still stored in my garage for the four years since she moved out. She bought a new car, I bought a new car, her 2002 Hyundai Accent still remained there.
The goal was to donate it to Community Action Duluth to let her get the tax deduction. But because it’s a donation, it needed to go when the towing company could fit the pickup in its schedule. Eventually it arrived.
The car would not start — the battery was long dead. But you can flip a car into neutral without starting it, so the tow truck driver did, and then we rolled it out of the garage so he could tow it.
I handed him the keys. It was unceremonious. It was the last remnant forcibly creating a connection to my ex-wife (who remains my good friend). For as long as that car was there, no matter the state of our interpersonal relationship, there was “unresolved business” to attend to. No longer. Our connection depends on our intentional choice to remain connected. That is how it should be.
* * *
The garage looks so empty. I’m moving shelving into it. I’ve been “death cleaning,” deciding which books I will never read again, getting rid of them, deciding which collections I will never complete, and getting rid of them. The garage will become a place I can put the things I have not yet decided on.
- A box of comics about Mickey Mouse. I have not yet read them. I will. After I do, will I keep them? Or will I give them away to children born fifty years after they were published?
- A book about Rockefeller Center, a souvenir. I’m going back to New York this Winter — will I keep this book? Or is returning to the place enough to retain it within my heart?
The garage remains a place of “unresolved business” to attend to, of a different sort.
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