22 April, 2010


Clearing out drawers is very therapeutic. It's official – my friend's therapist told her so. And I was very pleased to hear it, because I love occasionally tackling a drawer full of old clutter, and sorting it out. Sometimes I end up putting it all back in, exactly as it was, but I still always feel better afterwards.

The other day, I sorted through a drawer full of old cards and letters. Here are some things I found, which made me sad in different ways.

Thing 1
This is the letter Byron sent with the first bunch of birthday presents he gave me, back when we were still living in different states. It was an achingly romantic time – longing for each other across the miles, sending constant texts and pictures, spending all our time at work sneakily chatting online. In the letter, he describes me as his "perfect man", and signs off "Yours always". Thing 1 made me the kind of sad where you sigh, and sit for a moment thinking to yourself.

Thing 2
When I was in Year 10, I was in a school production of Much Ado About Nothing. I made excellent friends with a couple of Year 12 girls who were clever and funny and downright lovely. Not long after the production ended, I wrote a letter to one of them – Anna – about how sad I was that the show was over. Thing 2 is the letter she wrote back. It included a separate page with this quote:

"You carried everything that mattered inside yourself, nobody could help you from outside.
Not to be at war with yourself in affection and trust – that was the thing. Then you could do anything. Then you could not only walk a tightrope but fly"
from Klingsor's Last Summer
Hermann Hesse

Thing 2 made me sad because I failed to maintain my friendship with Anna. She was one of the best people I have ever met, and due to my own stupid laziness – and, to some extent, my own stupid insecurity – I lost her from my life. This has been a recurring theme for me. Reading her letter made me the kind of sad where you curse yourself for fucking things up.

Thing 3
The last birthday card my mum ever wrote me. I was twenty-four. She, my dad and sister were travelling overseas – something Mum had always wanted to do. They were doing it then, in the first half of 2004, because she knew she was running out of time. I was at home, alone, desperately sad, and dealing with a mouse infestation in our family house. My mum wasn't a wordsmith. Her card is simple. She wishes me a happy birthday, makes a jovial reference to the mouse problem, and signs off with twenty-four kisses. Thing 3 made me the kind of sad where you sit on the floor, sobbing.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss you.

April 22, 2010 7:03 pm  
Blogger SarahJ said...

You're a beautiful writer and man, Mr Gartside.

April 23, 2010 9:54 am  
Blogger The Mutant said...

Like you, I enjoy a good drawer-clean.

Sometimes its nice to feel sad - not because of the sadness itself, but becuase something or someone has happened to cross your path that is worth shedding tears over.

Its one of those beautiful aspects of life.

May 25, 2010 12:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I've just stumbled across your blog and have been reading various posts you've written. Much of it is very moving. I'm really very sorry about your mum. While it was quite some time ago, it must be excruciatingly painful still.

I thought I should say hello and not be a random reader peering into the lives of old friends. I hope that you're well and experiencing happier times.

John Katsoulas

January 16, 2011 6:53 am  

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