They emptied the house of everything valuable and destroyed all that mattered. The circular carpet indentations remain from the leather sofa and love seat pair Claire and I bought the first week after we married, the glass topped coffee table I feared would break at every clink of a cup, and the waist high inn table Suzie bumped her head into when she was five that gave her the first set of stitches. The scattered indents formed an incomprehensible game of Connect the Dots in the mud tracked carpet.
On the walls our picture frames still hung, but glass shards and crystal fissures muddled the images. Suzie was still riding her bike for the first time, but now it looked as if she would stumble upon a great iceberg before making it across the frame. A family portrait taken last Christmas featured spider web cracks across each of our smile strained faces. At least the baby pictures appeared untouched.
Cheap plates and cups were flung from cupboards and littered the tiled kitchen floor. Our wine rack, the object of no connoisseur’s envy – pillaged. My grandparent’s gold rimmed, hand blown crystalware – missing. The forty-eight commemorative state plates collected over the course of my childhood road trips – no longer contiguous.
Dresser drawers formed stacking towers at the foot of our bed. Clothes encircled the structure like worshipers at a shrine they didn’t believe in. The jewelry box Claire’s mother passed down to her was empty, but it only had held cheap pieces. The box itself was what mattered. Only her sentimental eye would hold onto the chipped wooden container.
I long to reach back and talk to the author of my past journal pages. To tell him things change and he is wrong about his present. But I realize I am wrong and his future is more complex than he would have imagined. That he was wrong about what he wanted to be right about and right about what he wanted to be wrong about.
Then I realize that he is I, and I am him. I am the future I that one day will look back on what I now write and say the same. We are one, connected through mind, distanced through time. Inhabiting the same thoughts, yet changing as the sand drips through the pinched hourglass.
That time when you come up with a new story idea only to realize that same idea already rested in your idea journal from many months ago.