I finally did it.
I threw out the oatmeal boxes.
Have I ever explained the origin of my name?
When the philosopher and I were getting to know each other, mainly by e-mail and eventually by phone calls in the exactly 6 months between when we met on line and he crossed my threshold, he sent me a picture taken from his office window with a pinhole camera. I knew a bit about pinhole photography, loved the effect, and was especially excited about developing pictures in a darkroom, which I'd never done. It was in my blood, though. My dad used to develop pictures in the bathroom and hang the negatives from the shower rod.
So the idea developed for buiding and using pinhole cameras while he was down here. A healthy idea, really, to have an activity other than making our in-the-flesh debuts as BDSM practitioners. Especially since he would be visiting for a few days.
Now the most convenient base for a pinhole camera is a round, cardboard oatmeal box. And he felt we should have around 10 cameras. So... (I really do need to make another batch of oatmeal cookies from what's left of the contents of those boxes.)
The weather was thoroughly disgusting that August weekend. Hot and muggy and grey. Not at all ideal for being outside, taking pictures through a tiny hole in the side of a cardboard box. (Well, actually, the hole was made in a piece of Coke can attached inside the oatmeal box. Very complex construction.) We experimented with my SAD light boxes, and found we could use them to do indoor photography, and created some very cool still life shots.
We used the cameras on at least one return visit. It was fun. We were making progress, although still had trouble with over-exposures as, being over-cautious by his own description, he often left the aperture open for too long.
And then it was over.
In many ways, it's my fault it was over. I couldn't take the stress any more, mainly of the silence, of his dissertation, of his stress. I thought I could, but I couldn't. And perhaps I was doubting that anything would really be different when and if he did finish his degree. Perhaps he really wasn't cut out for a relationship.
Worst of all, I didn't have the guts to break it off. I couldn't bear to let it go. I couldn't bear to let him go. So I became totally insufferable until he was the one to pull the plug.
I never stopped wishing it could work.
But it's heading on a year now. I write him every so often, and he only answered once, when I told him we were all safe after the fatal DC Metro crash. He has never told me not to write. But I finally stopped. Was the last message in September for his birthday? I can't remember.
I miss him.
I kept hoping.
Even with all my feelings for the sadist, I never stopped missing the philosopher. And never stopped hoping it could work out after all. Even though I knew it never could.
I'm trying to give up.
I'm trying to let go.
My house is a toxic waste dump. It's overflowing with clutter. Every weekend I think I'm going to make progress, and then I end up too exhausted and too busy and fixated on the sadist and doing his assignments to finish my to-do list. Which is too long anyway.
But this weekend, I did manage to make a decision.
I would get rid of the cameras.
If I remember correctly, that's 10 small ones and 2 big ones.
I would just toss them out.
Tomorrow is garbage pick-up day.
And tonight I removed them from their printer paper box
and I tossed them in a big black garbage bag
and I put the bag outside.
I still have the special light he brought to use while developing. And the underpants he bought last time he was here. And the pony tail I kept after the first time I cut his hair. And his pre-haircut picture is still on top of the bookcase in the study, right above where those cameras had been sitting for months and months, lined up like eggs in that printing paper carton.
I haven't really let go.
But I'm letting go of the cameras.
Maybe this weekend I'll bake some oatmeal cookies.
I loved you, John.
And maybe I still do.