“Reorganization.” That’s what Shelly Matthews calls it. In her book, Reclaiming YOUR Life! she instructs newly divorced women to “Reorder your morning routine. Reenergize your bookshelf with new magazines and knickknacks. Reshuffle those stale memories and place any items in a Reorganization Bin. Then take that bin out with your trash!”
Reorganization means cleaning. And cleaning is the best aging elixir—back strains, skin-crinkling chemicals, and fumes that convince your lungs you’re a chain smoker. I don’t feel reenergized after I clean, I feel like a vodka tonic and a nap. Do other 30-something divorcees believe this psychobabble?
Shelly preaches, “Today is the first day of a centered you. Reorganize old habits, unpleasant memories, and focus on simplicity.” I interpret that as the day I “reorganize” all my ex’s treasures to the incinerator. Ha.
Tom never dusted. Neither do I. Dust covered my CDs with a layer of hazy antiquity; my CD tower looks like a prop in a play about an old, haunted Border’s. Younger me would eat that shit up.
The dust camouflaged a cassette, nestled between the original Now compilation and Chicago: Greatest Hits. I reorganized the ancient compact disc tower; it toppled in a cloud of dramatic dust. I found a tape player among its remains.
“KELLLLLLZ! I made this for you and I know you wish I played the guitar but I don’t and didn’t play any of these songs—but I still think they’re great and you’re great. You’re my favorite, Kell.”
Newly pubescent Tom had such a wholesome voice, before the whiskey and chain smoking of his college years. His voice was much raspier when he told me he was leaving. And track number one,
Tangerine, Tangerine, Living reflection from a dream;
I was her love, she was my queen, and now a thousand years between.
Ha. Smartass. He thought he was so clever with my citrus allergy. I’ll never forget his terrified face when he stabbed me with an EpiPen—The Orange Julius Incident of 1997.
And what it all comes down to, Is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet.
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket, And the other one is giving the peace sign.
I think we both had a crush on Alanis Morissette. We used to blast Jagged Little Pill when we’d take drives. Tom always insisted on keeping the windows up til we got to Route 40 cause he didn’t want the rest of the Rugby team to know about his infatuation with a Canadian songwriter.
I’ll make love to you, Like you want me to, And I’ll hold you tight
Baby all through the night, I’ll make love to you, When you want me to
And I will not let go ‘Till you tell me to.
Only we would choose Boyz II Men for our wedding song. No regrets.
We’ve come a long long way together,
Through the hard times and the good.
I have to celebrate you baby,
I have to praise you like I should.
Our go-to hookup song. It also slipped into the Honeymoon playlist. If Fatboy Slim only knew the memories he helped us create…
We ran our town in high school. Dodging all the small town gossip because we were sweethearts and everyone knew it. Rock solid. Not that I’d care if we were the talk of the town. I didn’t care about anything, other than Tom. It’s a miracle I even made it to State on a full-ride with the Diving team.
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night…
He came to every Diving competition. I was head rally girl for the Rugby team. Jesus, the time spent at each other’s games, competitions, practices. Hours we can never take back. I wonder if he regrets those. I don’t really know what else I’d be doing—mm, well maybe drugs. Probably kept me outta trouble.
Baby’s black balloon makes her fly.
No, not this song. This was on after we lost the first one. I’ve never cried so hard in my life. He pulled over on the turnpike and just held me. His state champion hoodie was soggy with my tears and snot and confusion over a situation we both weren’t taught to deal with. We were 17.
Damnit, Tom. I dug his new address out of the reorganization bin. Mailed him the tape with the note: I’m sorry.
There isn’t a chapter in Shelly’s book for this. This whole re-centering thing is selfish.Shelly, I can’t make it alone.
I reorganized that book to the trash.