Tiny Reminders

MIsunriseMoving on is simple, it’s what you leave behind that makes it so difficult.

Sunrise on the Mackinaw Bridge… one of the few things on the 19-hour road trip that I enjoy. Others include cherry coffee, 4am boat counts, and of course, the two dead hookers. But I digress.

The sunrise made me sad this time. I almost drove off the bridge staring at it. I nudged a snoring hippie, “Look, it’s beautiful!” watched his blank stare scan the horizon and then one half-open eye turned toward me and I smile-sighed, “Yes, you may go back to sleep now.” He wasn’t awake. But even if he had been, I’m not sure he would have understood completely. Not completely.

When my childhood sweetheart and I broke up, I lost a friend. When my ex and I divorced, I lost the big screen TV. When Wisconsin and I broke up, I lost the entire chain of Great Lakes. I lost my water.

Breaking up hurts. Even after the hurt is healed, the memory can sting. Seeing the water at sunrise, the reflections, the tiny white caps and the boats gliding across it, made me yearn to dip my feet. I wanted to pick rocks and find shells. I wanted to dig my toes in the sand at the edge of the surf and wait for them to be engulfed in a wet mire of tiny crystals. I get giddy when I see the water. I’ve stopped before and taken a twenty minute break from the drive-from-hell to run along her shores, kids and hippie in tow. But I couldn’t stop this time. There was a family wedding to get to and we were late. I swallowed back a tear and kept driving, window down so I could smell the water and relive a thousand memories.

Even though breaking up hurts, it’s those little things you hold on to that make the occasional twinge of pain easier to bear—the good memories you fall back on, the ones that drown out the bad. Yes I miss my water, but there’s water here. It’s just different water. And I have memories, lots and lots and lots of them—from childhood through teenage years and on into adulthood. Lots.

And I have physical reminders.

Because when you break up, you always take something with you. You hold onto some little physical reminder. When my childhood sweetheart and I broke up, I wrapped the love letters in ribbon and tucked them into my babybox. I still have them, and the half-heart necklace is in a jewelry box. When my ex and I broke up, I put away specific jewelry to be handed down someday. And when Wisconsin and I broke up, I took her rocks. I have stones around the house and several pebbles I keep in my purse. They’ve lost their smell (yes, rocks have a smell) but just the sight of them is enough to allow me to let go of the hurt of the break up. To remember the good times.

0 Responses to Tiny Reminders

  • Susan Scofield says:

    You “hippied” me!!

    With this: “When my childhood sweetheart and I broke up, I lost a friend. When my ex and I divorced, I lost the big screen TV. When Wisconsin and I broke up, I lost the entire chain of Great Lakes. I lost my water.”

    Now, gimme a damn tissue.

    Love you, Qwee

  • wolfnoma says:


    I too grew up on the Great Lakes, mainly lake Michigan although I did do a lot of camping up near lake Superior as well as skiing in the winter, and 25 years ago I left the midwest to serve our country at sea. I never really went home and I live on the eastern seaboard now surrounded by water but it’s just not the same. I miss the heady smell the fresh water lakes give off, watching the local fishing boats leave Green Bay, Two Rivers and Manitowac to go out onto lake Michigan in the morning fill their bellies with Salmon, Trout, Pike and a cornucopia of other fresh water fish to return in the evening fat and bloated. I miss watching the sunrise on the beaches of that body of water, beaches that have not become over commercialized with hotels, boardwalks, tourist traps selling “Made-in-China” cheap plastic souveniers, eateries that are either “Locals Only” or “Seasonal”. I miss the feel of a small town atmosphere where you see the life of a persons hardships in the lines of their face.

    I miss the sunsets over the corn fields and the sights of the cows grazing in fields of hay and alfalfa. The simple pleasure of getting on your bike and riding 10 minutes to the outskirts of town to a farmers market where not only do they know who you are but also your ancestry.

    I miss the slower pace of a midwestern lifestyle that at times is outpaced by the growth of the children in the elementary school yard.

    Ok, the maudlin nature of my life is catching up with me and I need to wrap this up. So, I shall only say this one last thing, I have rarely gone home and I miss it everyday, but when I do go home it is not the same as when I was younger. People tell me all the time that you can never go home and I agree with them but that does not mean I shall never stop looking for what I ran away from so many years ago.


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