keychain

I have a keychain with her name on it.

Keychain

It resembles an Ohio license plate on one side, and the other has the name and logo of the local amusement park where it was purchased.  She has one with my name on it, too—we bought them together two summers ago at a gift shop at said local amusement park.  Mine has been attached to my keys ever since, and although much of the painted on text has faded with time, her name—inlaid and painted in black—remains as visible as ever.

Everywhere I have gone in the world since that summer, the keychain has been with me.  She has been with me.  When I was riding a train through Southern Thailand, she was there; when I saw Mount Fuji from the window of an airplane, she was there; when I was crying on the floor of my apartment in South Korea, she was there.  This keychain was her saying “I love you.  You are my most special one.” as I traveled by myself all over the world.   

When we broke up at the beginning of last year I thought about separating the keychain from my keys, putting it away in a drawer somewhere so I wouldn’t be reminded of her every time I went to enter my apartment.  I didn’t do it, though, because some part of me understood that to give up on the keychain was to give up on the possibility of us.  I considered it again when we broke up at the end of last summer, but once again the keychain remained as affixed to my keys as the idea of us remained affixed in the back of my mind. 

“Your name is still attached to my keys,” I would email her.

And now, after the seeming relationship coda that she composed over the holidays, I am once again thinking about retiring the keychain.  I saw it lying on my bed yesterday, screaming her name in big capital letters, and I turned it over so her name faced my purple sheets instead.  I have done this many times over the past two weeks, albeit on different surfaces and in different ways.  I want so badly to remember, but not to be reminded.

A friend gave me a new keychain for Christmas—a baby sock monkey—that would make a fine replacement.  Late last night I was close to doing it, if only there had been a bit more beer to numb my memories and a bit less beer to help me remember where I’d put the new keychain.  Instead I fell asleep and woke up after ten hours spent mostly dreaming of her.

This afternoon I found the new baby sock monkey keychain, but in daylight I lack both the strength and the willingness to replace the old.  The act carries with it a combination of acceptance, loss, and finality that I am not ready for.  To continue living with her name tucked into my coat pocket, lying facedown on my bed, or simply dangling while I unlock a door or drive a car . . . I’m not sure what it indicates—an unwillingness to let go, a desperate grasp at possibility, a profound heartsickness—but it’s easier than detaching my keys and leaving her name in a drawer next to everything else she gave me.  This one thing, just let me cling to this one thing.

I wonder if my name is still attached to her keys.

6 comments to keychain

  • Ryan

    Chuck the keychain.

  • brian

    don’t have any good advice, but love stinks (sometimes).

    thanks for the potato chips.

  • Kelly

    I sent you an email once before about Korea. I feel for you immensely, I have been there. It’s trite, but time heals everything. Life is for living and loving.

  • I am sitting at home drinking makori, that I haven’t drank for about two years. The last time was when I was upset about a girl. The Girl. There hasn’t been an important one since.

    I still have her last emails, that I don’t want to read, yet I don’t want to throw out. I still wear clothes that she bought me.

    The more time passes, the more often the interludes of forgetfullness occur; but they will never disappear completely.

    That was a lovely piece of writing, but now I fear I can’t go to sleep just yet.

  • Funny how fcuk’n woman can affect us hard-arsed guys. Only cure is time but burn the key-ring, cut your losses and get another girl, just to prove to her you can live without her and to give yourself some direction. You will smile at yourself one day and say ‘Why was I so fcuken stupid??’. We all have gone thru that, good luck, why do we love them so much?

  • Jef

    I am not, and will hopefully never be, “hard-arsed.”

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