“Books – Heavy”
That’s what my husband had written on this box, and he wasn’t wrong. It was indeed full of books. And they were indeed seriously heavy!
Box 6 was full of coffee table/art books and books from my own childhood.
There were programmes and catalogues and photography collections alongside books of fairy tales and handmade ‘zines by friends – and a street directory from 1999, AND a calendar from 1986 (which I held onto for the pictures of cute kittens).
Thankfully the internet has rendered both these things moot now so that’s where I started with the culling.
There was also a bag full of memorabilia from my last ex-boyfriend. He’d given it to me after our breakup as the reminders were too painful for him to hold onto anymore.
Such a sweet guy. But so COMPLETELY wrong for me!
I felt awful breaking up with him. I was his first girlfriend. He was a shy, quiet type with painfully low self esteem and a desire to just live a content, everyday kind of life. At 23 he had fully paid off his university education and saved enough for a down-payment on his first home. He read the Saturday paper from cover to cover (even the Sports section). He listened to the radio in the mornings and had nice suits to wear to work. He gave me diamond earrings on Valentine’s Day.
Sensible. Dependable. A good provider.
Something about the way we interacted brought out the worst in me. I was an AWFUL girlfriend – demanding, inconsiderate, selfish – but just couldn’t stop myself. In the end I got sick of hurting him and getting away with it. It was spiralling down into a potentially abusive situation and quite frankly we both deserved better.
I really hope he went on to find a life partner more suited to his personality. We stayed friends for a while but he dropped off the face of the planet when I announced my first pregnancy. I think he was hoping I’d go back to him up until that point but when it finally sank in that it would never happen he cut all ties.
Nothing in the bag provoked the slightest bit of sentimentality (in fact a few items were just baffling – I literally had no memory of them!) so it was all put aside to throw out or donate (apart from a few photos of me that were quite nice and a lovely photo frame).
Once I’d decided what to keep and what to donate I put the coffee table and art books under the coffee table (funnily enough) and popped the rest of the stack I was keeping to one side.
See the thing is, I don’t have very many bookshelves – and the ones I do have are mostly full of toys. If my younger self could see this state of affairs she would be appalled. Being a lover of books has always been a core part of my personality. I grew up around shelves upon shelves of books and was looking forward to providing the same environment for my own kids, but I find myself feeling quite ambivalent towards them now.
I never thought I would feel that way about BOOKS.
I still love reading but the thought of having all those shelves lining the walls is a little claustrophobic these days. This may require some creative thinking – there are many more boxes of books to get through ahead of me.