I have mentioned previously that whilst never collared, I once owned a bracelet which was as meaningful to me as a collar and key would be to many others.
On the way home, I want to stop at the river. It doesn’t matter which bridge. I just need a bridge.
I’ve had the bracelet in my pocket since Monday. This sudden, very clear need to get rid of it. I couldn’t bring myself to bin it. And I couldn’t give it away. It needed to be a thing. An event. I needed to drop it into the river. I could picture it easily, standing in the middle of the bridge, taking a deep breath and slowly letting it fall from my hands into the water below.
Probably the last time I stood on that bridge with any kind of purpose was with him, wasn’t it? I don’t remember. I don’t make a habit of revisiting every local monument each time I come home for a few days, though. So probably, yes.
But then I started thinking about it. Overthinking about it. As soon as I said it out loud “Can we go down to the bridge for a few minutes?” I began to doubt myself. It’s littering, after all. Meaningful, romantic, windswept littering. Then I thought of the chain catching in a swan’s beak, choking them. A funeral procession of dead river fauna.
I changed my mind.
Actually, I wasn’t even thinking about cute little cygnets, I was thinking about fish, the ugly, unlovely kind. The bottom feeders. We cut up the plastic rings that hold cans of Guinness together to protect them. I can’t go back on my environmentalism just because I want to be melodramatic. I was not born to be a Bronte heroine. I am not a fish murderer by proxy.
But I still needed to get rid of the bracelet.
It wasn’t enough to add it to the festive detritus overflowing about the family home. A destructive element was necessary. I’m quite a destructive person. By the age of fourteen, most of my Barbie and Sindy dolls had been relieved of their hands and feet, and I’d developed a new hobby of setting fire to acetone-soaked cotton wool balls in my bedroom. I was never any good at concealing the scorch marks in the carpet. I smashed a plastic cup in a fit of teenage angst. I deleted everything from the family computer in another. Every. Single. File.
Raze it to the ground and salt the earth.
These days I only inflict my anger on myself. The feedback loop of pain gets smaller, tighter and less forgiving.
The bracelet was cheaply made, even if lovingly purchased, and clipped around my wrist with tenderness. This had never bothered me, I only mention it now because it made the artful destruction easy. I snipped the cord into confetti. The tag was easily prised from its white metal casing, and the meaningful words splintered into a meaningless jigsaw.
Then into the bin it went. No tears. No fuss. Maybe a little more effort and less drama than I’d anticipated when I rattled around my room to find it at the beginning of the week.
It took me two years. Of course I was holding onto it in case I could be that person again. Then I thought I could be the same sort of person, under the same name, for someone else? Maybe? And eventually I realised that no, I wasn’t her. I couldn’t be her for a new person. She was nothing.
There are three full days left of this year. In 2020, I would like to forget her. To forget him. To forget everything.