There are some things in life you never imagine giving away. Golden heart-shaped lockets with tiny pictures taped inside; crystal bowls that used to hold sticky hard candies; all the books you read and loved and underlined.
But if you ask me, there are also as many reasons to give things away as there are things themselves. And at the end of last month, I gave away my wedding dress.
For the sake of context, for 10 years I didn’t even know where it was. When my now-ex-husband and I moved here from Florida, it obviously came along for the ride, but I wondered a few times what had happened to it. “Did you have it dry cleaned?” my mom asked me more than once. “It should be in a bag from the cleaners, hanging somewhere if you did.” But I never did have it cleaned, that much I could remember. And on the way back from the donation center, I spotted the $95 special WEDDING DRESS sign at the dry cleaners with fresh eyes.
Did I just not care? I know someone spilled red wine down the back of it, and there were footprints where people stepped on my train. Plus, a part of me didn’t want to spend the money to have something dry cleaned that I’d never wear again. So I figured it had sat in a closet somewhere, all bunched up, maybe on the floor, probably moldy and ruined.
Ironically enough, we actually found the wedding dress when we were cleaning out our creepy closet under the stairs, before my ex moved out. It was stuffed into a black travel bag I swear I had never seen before, but in that moment, I resisted the temptation to put it in the giveaway pile in front of him. I had served him with divorce papers, and now I was worried about hurting his feelings.
The black bag felt dirty. Illegal, like someone leaving their suitcase unattended at the airport. No one could trace it back to me. It would roll away in a bright blue cart, and from there? I didn’t know. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t important.
But it didn’t feel like I was getting away with anything. I felt no resistance, no attachment, no guilt, no elation. It was just time. I was ready. I didn’t tell anyone. I just drove off in the rain.
That day, I donated my wedding dress. I had a lawn guy come for the first time. I had people over for impromptu drinks, which never happened when we were married. I stayed up late, took a long drive and made the kids popcorn for dinner. I went to Home Depot. I bought a tiny lightbulb. I thought about the future. I moved on.
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