I know the blue footlocker didn’t materialize into my teenage life like something that Scotty would beam up to the Enterprise, all magical-like. I know the footlocker came from somewhere, and I’m guessing I got it either from a friend or from a yard sale. I kept the locker in my room somewhere. I’ve worked hard trying to remember where I kept it. Strange how some memories are present, the kind you can stub your toe on, and other things are just so unclear. It wasn’t the centerpiece, though. That was my stereo. This footlocker is dinged up, dogged up, gouged blue metal with brass corners and lock. I think I kept stuffed animals on it and glasses of tea.
When I left my teenage home I brought the trunk with me, my strong shoulders unceremoniously stuffed it into my Bronco, hauled it up two flights of stairs, and I kept it somewhere in my apartment. I’m not sure where. It wasn’t the centerpiece, though. That was my stereo.
One night, a man suggested that he was going to bring me, his soon to-be-wife, to meet his mom tomorrow, a backwards proposal. I squealed and we rolled around on his waterbed by the light of his Plasma Ball (look it up), and I hugged him so hard, excited and happy and it all felt so right. Later we dragged a 10,000 pound couch I got from a neighbor I no longer needed to my Dad’s house. Everything else got moved into my future-spouses house via our trucks, including the rusty, dusty footlocker. I remember opening it on the bedroom floor, exploring old yearbooks and notes from boyfriends rediscovering all those feelings. I did not write what I remembered how I felt back then. We tucked the locker into a root cellar where my old stereo went. I mean, he had his sound system and mine wasn’t needed, after all, just like some of the stuff that came from my mom’s apartment after she passed, and Dad’s house after he passed along, too.
The blue and brass footlocker pockmarked with rusty volcanoes is in my bedroom now because I asked one of the apartment maintenance crew to help me upstairs with it. If I was a teenager I could have done it by myself, but my rotator cuff says no-go. We pulled the rusty trunk out of my trunk and we lugged it upstairs. I asked the young lady who reminds me of me (you know, running around after her dad, wanting to learn everything) if she likes the Thirsty Camel so I could buy her lunch. I’ll repay her as soon as she will allow me. I know she will say yes. Meanwhile, the trunk where I told my son all the dead bodies are buried sits alongside my bed. The rusty key is somewhere. I have a screwdriver plan B in case I can’t find the key. From memory I know my yearbooks are in there and a shoe-box filled with notes from those I loved and loved me. Not sure what else I will discover, but the focus is that this is where the bodies are buried, a life left behind but a life that cannot be ignored. How will I reckon them, those notes in ink I can still smell? What can I do with the past that was part of making me who is not the same me today?
I see a bonfire in my future, not an angry one filled with hate and the desire to harm but one that burns hot and clean.