Yard Sale

Yard Sale

A Story by Shelley Holt-Lowrey

What is the value of a life lived? In retail? In resale? In retrospect?

After the passing of the hurricane, when the roar of the waves had ceased, when calm settled in once more.....

... That was when I was able to lift my head and look around. Assess what was left. What was salvageable. What still had value. What needed to be repaired. What needed to be thrown into the garbage. What needed to be replaced.

So much energy expended in sorting, defining, understanding. Defining what I would take forward with me. What would I leave behind. Who had I become. Who I will become. Who i may have been.

Had i reduced my load enough so that what was left would serve me? Would the loss of what I left behind hinder?

. . .

It was one year after The End of 27 years of What Once Was, nearly to the day.
It was also the day I woke up, and stepped out of the fog, and decided it was the day to move forward

To prepare for what was next, I began cleaning out my house
Picking out pieces of my life that were no longer needed.
Or that were holding me back.
Or that could provide me much needed money.
I stacked all of these things up in my garage

The day of the sale arrived. took my pile of things outside,
Put up signs.
Invited strangers to poke through the story of my life
told through empty photo frames, old toys, forgotten appliances and tools no longer needed.

And as they looked - and decided what pieces they wanted, as we haggled over their value, I felt a previously unacknowledged weight being lifted from me.

As I stood staring into my yard, at all of the many 'things' my family had amassed over the years, I realized that each and every one of these things had a story to tell. There was a story in every item. Good, bad, trivial, profound - all held a piece of my life within.

I picked up a tiny little Lego man that was left forgotten in a box... and memories of my Mother and then four year old son sitting by the christmas tree patiently assembling many tiny little pieces of plastic - piece by piece - until finally it resembled a Scientists Laboratory. To him - it was a tiny little world filled with all kinds of possibilities and adventures. To my mom - time spent in the presence of her precious last grandson. And now - a piece of forgotten plastic in the bottom of a box.

That was when I acted. I started throwing things away by the gross. Big black bags filled with items I could no longer stand to see. Things of value, things with much sentiment attached - I simply could no longer stand to have any of it attached to me.

The sacks accumulated until I was satisfied that I had purged my life of all of the things which I knew would keep me anchored and unable to move forward.

And finally - I was done. What wasn't sold was either in big black bags ready for tomorrow's trash pickup or in a pile ready to be given to some deserving charity.

And as the garbage bin grew heavier - I became lighter.

And now - the real work begins. As I move forward, I hope never to have to face a garage full of memories like this again. That I'll never want so badly to simply throw away all of the moments of my life so that I won't be sucked down by them.

Moving forward - I will be much more cautious. I will give consideration to any person or possession I choose to weave into my life. I will ask myself what purpose it will serve. And at what cost. Will it have meaning in five years? in ten? Or will it break and disappoint me in two? I am no longer willing to heft it over my shoulder and carry it forward because I believe it should have value or it used to have value, or simply because it is easier. Because if I do I know it will be tossed in the garage.

Hopefully that is what I will do.
Hopefully what I chose to carry forward will have value and bring meaning.
Hopefully I no longer allow the weight of things I thought should be part of my life to keep me stuck and unable to move forward.

And if I don't - then I will stand where I stand now. Staring down another pile of black bags, with a pocket stuffed with one dollar bills.

I wonder if the parts of me still soft and untouched will be a bit more hard and calloused. I wonder if that is the cost. I don't wonder at the pain it will bring. This I already know.

© 2013 Shelley Holt-Lowrey

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This has a touching sense of truth, so sentimental and full of life experience!

Posted 4 Years Ago

These are big issues you are tackling here but you have discussed them very thoughtfully. I was slightly confused by the hurricane at the start until I realised it was a metaphorical 'blow'. Our psyche is a reflection of our external environment and you cant mess with it without repercussions.
I thought this was very good writing.
If you have chance would you like to read my story 'the letter'

Posted 5 Years Ago

Ponging moments? Poignant perhaps?

Posted 7 Years Ago

But for these moments, captured in things, is yet a moment itself. These self same oaths sworn are too to be forgotten until they brush up,against us thorny and brittle. In those moments, those very ponging moments that I think of times that have no tangible treasure. Times that I swooned in love or escape. They were moments that I touched the intangible sense that to be physically alive was enough. Nothing lived beyond my door, a door, be it garage or otherwise. Perhaps all I've really ever needed was a pen and an old paper enough to quiet my mind so that I could in fact see those around me. No their faces but their hearts. Then in that moment maybe I could grasp a glimpse of mine, reflected back at me. And it will wink as it flees whispering "I'll be seeing ya."

Of all gifts I believe to cause one to write, which is to feel is perhaps the greatest. Thanks for this naked look, this exposure of heart. Like Jazz in this write it is what's not written that is the music. Only shown through your expose.

Posted 7 Years Ago

Beautifully written sadness (You)

Posted 7 Years Ago

Shelley, what incredible strength. Then, to write about those feelings so clearly and precisely. I don't think I've ever heard a stronger testament to courage and self-esteem. So many words to express... inspiration, prevailing, the smile that comes with growth and confidence. You will do wonderful things. Brava

Posted 7 Years Ago

I cried damn you...Before I ever reached the end - I couldn't see anymore... you take care hon. Take care.

Posted 7 Years Ago

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7 Reviews
Added on September 18, 2013
Last Updated on September 18, 2013
Tags: Shelley holt-lowrey, short story, Changes

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