Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

On paper, passages, and the release of pressure

Melissa had my right knee pushed all the way to my right breast, threatening to flatten it. I was lying on her massage table.

Look, at my age they’re flat enough. I don’t need help. However, I had a choice between a pancake boob (at least until my implant re-inflated) and a mobile leg. Walk, or boob.

I chose walk. The boob will eventually regain shape. They may be fake but by god at least they bounce back.

Melissa’s strong. Right then she was telling me about how she had taken on the monumental task of clearing out her desk. The wastebasket in her office has been pretty full lately, in part because the last time she cleared it out was well before her (shredded) marriage. Her desk is huge, largely because Jambo the cat was huge.

She’d actually bought that massive desk so that the cat could lie on it. Like all large things, the deck had, over the years, accumulated far more than its share of memories, including ancient, bitterly unhappy paperwork. Same way Jambo had accumulated size. Nature abhors a vacuum, as anyone who has ever bought an oversized purse can attest.

The same way I built out a massive downstairs room for a small fortune largely so that the ex could take over the big room in my basement. Best room in the house, which he later acidly called “a dungeon.” His anger, his evil behavior, eventually took over the house. It’s remarkable how toxic people just take over more and more space, like a foul-smelling cigar. All the while, slowly shredding your self-confidence, and making it your fault. Well, of course it is.

Jambo sadly passed away last year, which also shredded Melissa’s heart, but not the same way the breakup of her brief marriage had done.

Now that Melissa could finally handle being around the office, it was time to clear things out of Jambo’s desk.

Melissa owns a shredder. That’s why her wastebasket’s been so full lately.

Melissa caught my eye as she pressed down harder, blood pressure making my face purple. She smiled.

“I found my divorce papers.”

Pause. She caught my eye. Mine were about ready to pop out of my head.

“I’ve rarely had so much fun shredding anything in my life.”

Both of us nearly fell off her massage table laughing.

That’s what happens when you release the pressure.

If I’d had a shredder when the erstwhile Asshole who was the BF, or more aptly put, the erstwhile BF who turned out to be the Asshole, (erstwhile meaning former, and he is still an Asshole, kind of a permanent condition), I might have done much the same thing. Or, at least, the suits and jackets and other belongings that he had so carelessly left in my closets in his hurry to get to his latest IFoundANewLoveINeverLovedYouAnyway.

There’s something deeply satisfying about shredding.

You can shred a wave, shred a line in the Rockies. You can shred when you snowboard, or shred a skateboard trick. That kind of shredding is badass fun. Like getting shredded at the gym. I’m all in for that kind of shred.

Yeah, and we shred ourselves for being stupid, too. For choosing people who happily shove us through the wood chipper, a la Fargo. For taking them back repeatedly, as though the first eleven times hadn’t been enough.

I’ll bet you can relate. Especially if you, like we are, well past fifty. Um, sixty.

You can shred the holy shit out of your divorce papers. Shred the remains of a lover’s leftover clothing.

If you and I aren’t careful, we can shred each other’s hearts and souls with our words, as had my ex done with me, as Melissa’s ex had done with her.

But nothing, but nothing shreds a bad memory faster than a good laugh.

Photo by Marcela Rogante on Unsplash