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  • On the 4th of July, I was leaving for a picnic in Philo.
    As I packed my bag to go, I realized that I had misplaced my driver’s license. The next day, I decided to look for it in my closet. My closet is a room that is about 6 feet wide and 12 feet long , there are many shelves built inside and it is regrettably packed with just about everything in my life that I keep that I cannot throw away, that I hide and treasure. I have boxes of letters and photographs, stacks of sweaters and the packing boxes from my computer, the deeds to my land and my parent’s wills, their divorce papers, my mothers poetry, letters my father wrote to us from the South Pacific, where he moved to for 5 years when my parents divorced in 1961. My thesis photographs and a box that contains strands of fine black hair from my first haircut and the first baby teeth I lost. My closet holds the remains of all that is left of my biological family, My childhood past and my legacy resides here in old shoeboxes. The history of my life is told by my shoes and their boxes, my life illustrated by well worn cowboy boots, running shoes, high fashion hippie boots , Chanel and Prada pumps, and my penchant for ornamental flourishes on pointed toe flats.
    Among these artifacts of my life, I rummaged, searching coat pockets and purses for my missing license. I came upon a card, among a box of cookbooks that were in box, carelessly stashed in my closet, to be put back on the bookshelf at some unknown time, which said;
    In bold blue Helvetica, superimposed on a Day-Glo orange background, inside a note, dated Valentine’s day 2008, from S., with a sonnet, written to me of his belief in us, our love our ideals, our dream, our future. His handwriting precise and legible in black ink, his writing in succinct and elegant styleas architects and designers will often write.
    I sat in the closet holding this card that I have held onto all these months, since he ended our love affair to be with another woman, someone he began seeing not too long after he wrote this card to me, hoping that these words were true, and he would return to us. Our big love rooted and cultivated with these beliefs and ideals we both at one time held so dear.
    But he hasn’t. During the two and half years we were together we created a passionate and creative correspondence, sending, to one another, elaborate paintings of our love and ardor, to one another through the mail.
    For nearly two and half years, he and I mailed each other something that would delight and inspire each other. I fancied them to be a book one day, as we both took great delight in creating literal and visual testaments of our love and desire. Each one out did the last, and we took these on as an art form.

    Two artists in love.

    I have kept them near, protected a clear purple plastic envelope, in a wooden box under my desk. The I BELIEVE IN THE CLASH card, I had hung, framed in my office in Petaluma. When I left my job in Petaluma and returned home to Point Arena this Spring, rejected and broken hearted I carried the card home, as if it were a remnant of hope, if I kept this, he would remember me, and us and return to us. But he didn’t. He hasn’t. He won’t.
    I took the card and tore off the front, and took the back the part that held the sonnet, the words, potent in their black inkiness and lit it on fire in my woodstove.The front of the card, with the I BELIEVE IN THE CLASH exclamation, is now fixed to my refrigerator with a magnet, that is in the form of an anatomical heart.

    The paper refused to burn, a tiny corner would light, then the fire would extinguish and the paper would smolder. I tried burning the card a few times to no avail. I thought it might be a sign, that I could not destroy these words, this manifesto, but I knew this was not true. I knew that I had simply not made the flame fierce enough.
    Determined, I took the card out and filled the hearth with crumbled newspaper and egg cartons and doused it in lighter fluid and as it blazed I threw in the card, it was swallowed by the flames and disappeared. I went upstairs and took out the envelope of love letters from under my desk and one by one, I read each one, and threw it into the fire.

    Here was a story, the history of us, from the beginnings of first passion to the building of a deep and profound love, that I felt sure was the last love of this life for me, and still I believe may very well be, as I read testimonial after testimonial of his deep and enduring love for me, for us, for our life together.
    There were pictures he sent me, posing in front of a peak in the Sierras, written on the back, a poem from Evolution Basin, how he laid in his tent, under the stars, and pleasured himself, thinking of me, and the night before he left for a two week trek in the High Sierras. Cards for my birthday and cards to say he missed me, letters telling me his deepest fears, his hopes, letters explaining how he had never told these things to anyone but me.

    Each one I read,I smelled, I inhaled, I exhaled, I offered to the fire, I sprinkled a magic powder I bought in the Haight from a queer Wiccan warlock who makes powders and potions. I had gone to the Sword&Rose, after he ended us, bereft and broken, I asked Randy, the Wiccan warlock who makes the potions, for something that would help me heal.
    He offered me this powder he calls Coptos, and he explained that it embodied the wisdom, compassion and forgiveness of the Christ. That for me to heal, I must forgive him, and also forgive myself. That I must rise above my ego, my bruised heart and soul, find the higher ground of unconditional love, forgiveness and true compassion, for all of us being human, for not being perfect or doing things right.

    The powder smells like roses, but is the color of deep ochre. As I sprinkled it on the burning letters it would sparkle and crack and the scent of rose and myrrh filled the air, blew up and out the chimney swept away by the wind that had picked up and was blowing the fog away.

    I sat for a while and watched them burn, turn black and into ash. I considered how full of life force they once were, how I clung to them and their meaning, and now they were nothing, as now, S. and I are nothing.
    Afterward, I felt oddly calm, as if the fire has calmed a storm inside me, and it had burned through my heart, leaving me with a sense of finality, the closure I was never to receive directly from him.

    It's as if I am standing on a corner, waving goodbye, at a busy intersection, as he looks through the rearview mirror and drives away.
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