As part of my ongoing de-cluttering project, I just spent fifteen minutes going through two boxes from the top shelf of my closet, both labelled “Su’s junk drawer.” This is stuff that I packed up at the old house eighteen months ago, and didn’t have the energy to go through then. Most of it is now either in the trash or in a bag destined for Goodwill, but I kept some favorite things, like a picture of Scott and me on our way in to Cedar Point very early in our relationship as lovers (it’s in one of those hold-it-up-to-the-light things on a keychain) and a couple of pieces of jewelry I’ll never wear again but am fond of. I kept my high school class ring, heavens knows why. I kept my grandfather’s everyday pocket watch, a highly utilitarian steel with a “Caterpillar Track-type Tractors” fob. It’s sitting on the desk next to me, ticking away: I am testing it to see if it keeps time, and if it does, I may start carrying it.
Next to it is a little pocket knife I bought on the street in Moscow. I have needed a little knife to carry in my purse, and this one is as good as any.
I kept a little tray for catching one’s things at the end of the day. It says “Hazel” on it, and belonged to my Great-Aunt Hazel, whom I loved dearly.
In the trash: dozens of pairs of earrings I bought for a dollar or two each on the streets of New York, Philadelphia, and other eastern metropolises during my days of wandering the urban centers of the eastern seaboard. Some dried up watercolor paints. Tee Corinne’s Cunt Coloring Book.
On the way to Goodwill: Some lovely barrettes left from my long-hair days. Some decorative boxes. Some decent costume jewelry. A few scarves. The remains of a childhood penguin collection.
Sitting on the bed awaiting disposition: My Dungeons & Dragons box, containing my dice (not being a dice nut, I only had one set) and my character sheets. Most of the character sheets are in the recycle bin, but I am not sure what to do with Bella, the character I played most and loved most dearly. Looking through her stats makes me remember how fond I was of her, and how much fun I had playing her. She had an 85% chance of learning a new spell, 60-foot “infravision,” 30% resistance to charms, and if she rolled 12 or higher on D20 it gave her “+2 to hit” plus some other enhancements, for 1D10 rounds, an enhancement she won by outsmarting a leprechaun). She was young, not especially clever, very good at dancing, etiquette, and astrology, and sexually promiscuous. Not long before I left my standing D&D game because the dungeonmaster refused to eject a new player who brought a loaded gun to a game, she acquired a fairy dragon as a familiar through a series of shockingly improbable dice rolls (I suspect the dungeonmaster cheated in my favor because she was sweet on me; the other familiar Bella could have ended up with was a toad).
I miss D&D. I miss role-playing with clever people for ten and twelve hours at a stretch. I miss the lame jokes (“Time to cast Summon Pizza!”). I miss the boredom and drama of a dungeon crawl. I’ll probably never play again, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be as Bella, I’m sure. Given that I can’t even decipher many of my notes on her, she’d be tough to resurrect.
Well, I’m not ready to recycle her. I’ll put her sheets back in with the dice and find a place for them on the games shelf in the basement. Today, cleaning out just two small boxes, I said goodbye to several old versions of myself: the one who traveled halfway around the world; the one who knew her way around Greenwich Village after dark; the one who thought she could learn to paint; the one who wasn’t afraid of big flashy jewelry. Looking at his watch (which is keeping excellent time so far), I said goodbye again to my grandpa, dead over thirty years now. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Bella, or to the young woman I was, who could stay up all night pretending to be her.Posted by Su Penn at May 7, 2004 02:51 PM | TrackBack