Broken things, some we are quick to cast aside, some are not so easily released. A Van Gogh, a toy doll, a locket, a person; all come into existence with the sheen of shiny fresh brand new ‘here I am.” Over time that bit fades, ultimately replaced by the thing that most often happens to things that persist in the act of existence, some sort of brokenness. A locket or pocket watch have sentiment on their side. If these become broken a fix of some sort is possible if the owner is sufficiently motivated by emotional attachment. What of broken people? As I glance to my left wrist, I see my great grandfather’s watch. He, a broken thing that ultimately could not be “fixed’ left this working timepiece as a memory.
Hearts are regularly broken; so are bonds of friendship, vows, and refrigerators. The casting aside and replacing of broken things happens when we lose faith, often rightly so, in the possibility of repair. Other times we simply must do the work of restoration or so parish, as with our hearts. I have a sentimental streak that has caused a light hoarding behavior at times. I hold onto my collection of five old runner sleds even as the warming of the earth no longer offers winter in my part of the world. The sleds aren’t broken. However, their usefulness is but a memory. Still, like a locket bearing the picture of a loved one, in my case winter, they hold value, hope, promise, or nostalgia, that I am reluctant to release.
I’ve walked some of my days with a broken heart, many adult humans do. Fill in the blank as to the details with your own experiences, and we will likely be in understanding of one another. It is a scar, or a badge, or a shitty outcome that clings to the soul like a limpet to the hull of a sailing vessel. It by itself will not plot the course of a journey though it may slow the runnings. So it goes with we who have minds made of chains that rattle and dance each morning when we decide to once again rise and face the day.
I learned yesterday that my best friend of thirty-eight years, Dr. David, (mentioned in a previous Random Fiction blog post “Free Fall,” irony included) has acute leukemia. He has passed, at least temporarily from the realm of shiny new things into that of the broken. He wore a brave face Thursday as he entered a month of hospitalized solitude to face down his indiscriminate adversary in a firestorm of chemotherapy.
Interestingly, several months ago, before this category 5 shit-storm reared its ugly head, Dave and I spent a weekend visiting the college town where he and I met. Our in the moment state of unbrokenness found us commenting that we both felt as though we were still the same boys that had made acquaintance there those many years ago. Alas, as some friend of Anne Lamott’s said, “we are all born astride the grave.” Acknowledging that fact is ultimately both a curse and a relief… at least for me. That said, I will give any and all of my time, money, and bone marrow to fix this particular broken thing. Love to you my dearest friend. My heart is with you all the way.