As I was cleaning up this morning from yesterday’s big bash (we had some friends over to play games while the rest of the nation watched some other game on television), I threw some empty bottles away in the trash and they clinked together in a melancholy sort of way. I don’t know why I suddenly felt sad, and I had a vision of my time in college, and I remember how I felt as empty as a bottle being tossed in the trash. You had to be careful throwing away those bottles because you didn’t want a bunch of glass shards tearing at the delicate plastic of the trash liners they were being placed in. The clink of those bottles casually, yet almost lovingly placed reminded me of how empty I felt back then. They served a purpose of being cold and firm as we clutched them the previous night, lifting and tipping towards our pursed lips, tongue lifted at just the right angle to receive the bitter bubbliness of amber absenteeism. Just a few more and you could forget the directionless point of your life that the bottles ironically indicated you didn’t have. The recall of spinning a bottle so it would point at a certain someone makes the emptiness more tangible. You grab at empty green and brown and clear bottles knowing that it is the weekend and you’re here still and your family is so far away. These people who look at you worryingly during the week, don’t look at you as you clean. Maybe they were just as sad, just as empty. We took hard, solid, but delicate objects of yesterday’s symbol of ease and prepared them for someone to pick them up and rush them off to who knows where. The empty cans were much easier. They seemed to be made for a temporary point in time. You can smash them and toss them across the room into the refuse bin. You don’t have to be careful. The sound of an empty can causes no emotion. There is no link in time to those. The clink of bottles remind me of distances. Distances in miles and distances in time. There were always bottles somewhere at that time. There would be bottles at the bottom of the hill in the secluded place. Bottles on porch railings. Several bottles would glint in the sun, perched on the windowsill of Scott’s room. Bottles at the end of the hall in the dim light. Bottles standing stoically as statuesque guards next to toilets. They were always there pleading to remind you that this temporary time is oh so permanent… and delicate. Clinking bottles make me sad. Sounds so tied to deep emotion makes my heart yearn for a something that tickles the ear, like car tires rolling over an iron bridge. Or the sound of a curtain opening. Or the sound of kneelers being put down all over the church. My Papa’s snoring as we all watch television or play games. Music of all shapes and sizes. Somehow these sounds, even happy reminders, give me back the melancholy of distance.
I miss you family. We crave distance and hate it when it lingers. I am good here, because I am loved here. Distance is making things foggy though and there are times I need to cut the fog, for it has been far too long. But I know that closing geographical distance will never change the distance of time, and geographical distance will remind me of emotional distance which more distance in time will ever increase, but there must be growth. There is always growth.
All this… in the clink… of a bottle.