Crossed legged on my African cushion cover, a handmade memento from Mozambique (well, Tracey handmade it, I brought the material home!) I sit surrounded by china, wood and paper. Carefully, I cut a strip of bubble wrap, resisting the urge to pop each sphere and satisfy my inner child. For this time I must be a grown up. I select a cherished memory, a glossy cat; a silver echidna and place it lightly on the waiting cushion. Slowly, I draw the blanket of air around my past and swaddle it, tucking it up safely to sleep in a darkened box until it is time for me to reawaken it and re-examine my past.
Brushing items with my fingertips I smile as I notice the blue-tac still stuck to the bottom of small china animals, the remnants of a childish period of collection. Figurines stuck to the window sill to protect them from the curiosity of Misty, the original black cat. These ‘pets’ are all that is left after periodic culls of my life. This cull is the most savage so far, yet I am unable to say good bye to sweet cat figurines, or seahorse mobiles bought to remember my adventures. I am particularly fond of my travel mementos, proof that a world exists beyond the horizon of work and sleep; reminders to look beyond my mundane existence; the reason all my possessions have to be packed away in the first place.
No tears are shed, but wry smiles are a-plenty and a hollowness opens in my chest as boomerangs and bodhran disappear in a haze of air and plastic. In no time at all my fragile valuables fill a box the size of a pillow, in suspended animation until I return.
The bubble wrap ends before I am able to put away everything though. I am still bound to my past even after I forget its physical form. Joy, pain and lives lived and lost still resonate within me.