Funny how a millisecond of memory can transport you to an intense playback in time. An amplified moment when you felt achingly small. I yanked open the heavy glass slider with the power of my annoyance and headed straight for the soil. Potting was a solid way to blank out my brain frenzy. I practically dove headfirst into the speckled blue ceramic pot, floundering to find myself again after an unpleasant curlicue slide down memory lane.
I was officially triggered.
I hoped the hot pocket of patio air would boil my anger out, as I mechanically churned the soil and filled the pot, plucking protruding pebbles and centering a spiny desert dweller in its belly. Today, my go-to mind eraser failed. Fresh soil wasn't enough to ground me back to present. I groped for more distraction, pulling terra cotta pots off the wiry triangular stand wedged in the corner. Distributed the smaller cacti in between the big boys housed in concrete planters. One by one. Everything off the tarnished copper shelf adorned with tacky butterflies and spiraling metal. It was the final relic. A thorn in my side I carried from condo to house to apartment, always sticky with the memory of the uncomfortable source from which it came. I wanted it out and away and gone to somewhere that knew nothing of my resentment toward it. It could have a fresh start and I could stop remembering. Or when I did remember, it wasn't there to fuel my memory and make it larger. Looming over me like the painful mistakes I made back then.
I snapped the shelves into place and folded up its frame. Hauled it to the dumpster and brushed my hands against each other in a dramatic statement of finality. Washing my palms clean of old emotional dust. Knowing the memory would rustle up again, in another way. Maybe it would trigger me. I'd pot a plant. Launch an escape plan. Or do nothing at all. No way was the right way. Every time was different. And it always turned out better in the end.