Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Paper-Mache Power Figure

If the Garment District is low on wire hangers, they need to call me soon. If Smuckers has a jar crisis this week, they need to let me know by Friday. As mentioned previously, I'm a terrible packrat and I'm moving. Everything must go, and it's a little heartbreaking.

While the bleeding-heart greenie in me, the boy partially reared by the thriftiest woman of the entire Depression era hates to see such useful stuff hit the bin, there's another kind of heartbreak happening here. A lot of the quirky errata that clots my shelves is soaked in personal, emotional significance, and on some level, letting the item go means chucking the memory out into the road.

In my mind it's no different than Congolese power figures or Orishas in Santeria - collections of ordinary objects are repositories for powerful feelings and forces beyond human understanding. One man's wooden figure with nails in it is another man's prayer for strength, made in a time of duress and filled with sadness and hope.

Or, in my case, an Incredible Hulk pinata:

His Explosive Rage Is Our Sweet Candy

My sister came to visit me on for my 29th birthday (2005) and gave me this pinata, filled with candy. I was suffering some serious heartbreak at the time -- a woman I loved had left 2 weeks before to go home to her side of the planet. I felt numb most of the time, a paper dummy filled with wood shavings. Sometimes termites would invade my wooden body and chew up my guts, making me cry, cry, cry. My work was heading south, and every day at the office felt like stepping into crosshairs.

Jess (my sister) and I had been on the outs for several months. We spoke, but briefly, and mostly at family functions. Every time we talked, we focused on not fighting rather than actually communicating.

We love each other so deeply, me and Jess, that it's hard sometimes to cut each other a break. She and the lady that had recently left shared a love for me, a naked loathing for each other and a temper like our green paper friend up there. I'd been stuck in the middle and it made me resent everyone.

But then it was my birthday, at one of the lowest points in my life, and Jess came to visit. And instead of saying anything at all about my situation, she came in with a big bag and bigger heart and gave me a big, long hug as soon as she walked in the door.

"You know I love you, Jeff, right? You're my fucking brother and you always will be. Now check this thing out," she said, pulling the pinata from the bag. "Open that bad bitch up, 'cause we both need some candy right about now."

Then she took me out to a Mexican restaurant where we ate, drank margaritas and talked about everything in the world.

Do you think the person that finds that pinata will pick all that up, too? Either they'll get a sweet blast from the Hulk's paper skin and feel a lot more at home in the world -- or I'll get to hang onto that a little longer. It's a win-win either way, really.

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At 4:21 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

The thing's just a thing, right? You've got the story and you've shared it. You made me think of my own brother.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Kristin. I have been a reader since the beginning of this blog and you are still talking about this "woman that you loved." I think it is time that you got over her and stopped writing about it.


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