My desk has stacks of paper. Yellow envelopes filled with sheets I need to fill, a checklist of largely unchecked items, bills that need follow up, a snowman with one arm and a caption that says I’d melt for you.
Each day, I sit at my desk, focusing solely on the words on the screen. I tell myself I will get to the stuff around me one day. I carry on, the mess becoming part of the landscape, something I am so used to that I no longer mind it.
There are bits of paper on the carpet, big Duplo blocks, tiny lego pieces, barbies naked and arms flayed, tiny doll clothes everywhere. I step over a writing pad with paper that has illustrations of a cat and fox on it. Some days when I am generous, I pick it out of my way and put it on the sofa already burdened with odds and ends from various puzzles, board games, and toys.
My corner of the house, the kitchen, has a drawer near the pantry. My catch-all for things that don’t have a home. Unmatched barrettes, hair bands, a piece of grip to open tight bottles, small diaries, pens, loose sheets of paper, safety pins, ribbons, hand sanitizer, a roll of black plastic bags. I rummage through it on days when I am looking for things I have misplaced. Each time I open the drawer, a wave of regret washes over me. I tell myself I will organize it. That all those things without a home will find its place.
Someday. One day. Any day.
That day never seems to come. Over the years, I have become inured to the entropy around me. They have merged into the landscape, become part of my mind map as I step over them, around them and on them. They have lost their place and merged with the decor.
Then on days like today, I see them, their shapes standing out in relief, their place in my home prickly, uncomfortable. I see them through the eyes of a visitor. Apathy is replaced by regret, sorrow, and other undecipherable feelings. These objects have become stand-ins for how I feel about my life. They stand in for regrets, estrangement, toxic relationships, decisions that once seemed right but feel horribly wrong now. Most days I have ignored them, made peace with them and relegated to parts of my brain from which I have inured myself.
Then there are days when they come into sharp focus and ignore them I cannot.