The Filing Cabinet of Memories

We are moving house. We collect the keys for our new house, and are finally galvanised into action. It is time to clear out the filing cabinet. When we moved in together two years ago, we had to buy it to store the reams and reams of paper that we had brought with us – paper which tracked the courses of our lives. As we sort and shred receipts, letters and bills, we are looking at forgotten history; some of it shared, some of it from a separate past that we still carry with us. Like the kids’ old school reports, they show us how we got to where we are now.

My old bank statements tell a story. I am amazed to see a bank statement from 2008 showing that I was in credit with the bank, and that I spent £75 on my hair. Back in those halcyon days, when I had a proper job…

‘Wow, look, I paid for a meal at Picciolinos in 2010!’ I say, waving the evidence in the air.

‘I think we should keep that and frame it,’ says my Intended.

I remember every single outfit I bought, and why – from the baby clothes years ago, to the smart office wear for a new job, or the warm clothes for winter walks with my Intended – each one said something about my hopes, dreams and fears at the time. This is what advertisers sell us when they sell clothes: the chance to be someone new, to grow into another role or persona. Looking at my bank statements, I see that every purchase represented the start of something new.

We shred the old documents and tell each other stories from our past, deciding what to keep and what to leave behind as we prepare to move on, into the future.

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