I’ve recently brought a lot of belongings out from storage in my brother’s barn so that I can sort through them, disposing of anything unnecessary and keeping the essential. It’s been there since I went to India – after four years just how essential can any of it be, really? Well, it’s more difficult than you might imagine. Some of it has sentimental value and some, well, it might have been useful if my life had taken me elsewhere. Anyway, that’s all another story. The point is that today was meant to be a day for sorting paperwork but, somehow, all I’ve managed to do is shift it from one pile to another. I have to deal with it and I MUST get rid of it but so far I’ve failed.
The collection I particularly wanted to deal with concerned a road accident I had ten years ago. Two box-files-worth. Photographs, police reports, interviews with consultants, appointments with surgeons, medical reports, interminable letters exchanged with solicitors. I hadn’t read the witness statements for years. Probably not since I first got them, actually, and maybe not even then, and I suppose it was a fatal mistake to sit down and start reading them now. I learnt one thing, which was that fire extinguishers had been used on my car. Before the accident I’d imagined in nightmares the horror of being trapped in a burning car. Perhaps it was the thought that a car battery is like a bomb, so much stored energy, just waiting to cause and feed a fire. Maybe it was a good thing then, imagining this, and knowing what to do: even in my delirious state in that smoke-filled car I knew I had to tell someone to disconnect the battery. They’d tried and, when they couldn’t, they’d used the extinguishers. I was so incredibly, incredibly lucky that it’d all happened outside a small industrial yard, at a time when there were still people around. I don’t want to think…
And then I read the lies of that woman. That drunken woman. Who, despite nearly causing my death, blamed it on me. Despite the witnesses, the reports, the breathalyser results… and there’s more… but what’s the point.
All this paper is like a trigger. It’s like the battery – it’s feeding my anger and frustration and my inability to forget. The memories are bad enough already.
This morning I’d thought that I’d sit down and sort out what I needed to keep, have it scanned and then bin the lot. Now, I think I’ll just bin it. What could I possibly ever need? I am as I am now – I don’t need all that history. In fact it needs erasing. Expunging. Forever.
One good thing has come out of sorting out my junk – yesterday I rediscovered my little stone Buddha. There’s something serene about him – he keeps me calm. So when I just looked up, wondering which photo I should put with this post, he provided the answer. I’m pretty sure he’d confirm too, if he could, that I should chuck that paperwork!