I inhaled a large amount of attic air and attempted to concentrate again on the stack of folding chairs to my left and birthday party planning. My eyes wandered against all neurological orders issued by my brain. I could only stare at the baby bathtub sitting atop a pile of boxes like an adorable shipwreck. I peeked inside and spotted a bag full of plastic baby bottles. I turned away and straightened my collection of boxes, thankful I couldn't see inside them. I stacked them along the wall out of the way. Amazingly, I caught myself stalling for time. I felt as if there was a monster behind me. How pathetic could I be? I just could not seem to control what was happening here.
Just what was happening here, anyway?
These items did not bring me joy or trigger anything remotely maternal. They reminded me of death. The death that occurred years ago now that not many could feel or even knew occurred. I only felt memories of dark nights and horrible pain. Even the Huggies boxes suddenly seemed like brightly-colored coffins. I felt a spurt of adrenaline issue from deep within my torso. As it dispersed, my heart and lungs began to labor as if I was walking uphill. Nausea twisted my stomach.
I automatically grabbed the blue plastic bathtub and began to fill it with loose items. The Baby Bjorn carrier. The Boppy covered with the word "baby" and cheerful cartoon bees. The diaper wipe warmer. I carried the tub out of the room and set it on the carpet. Going back into the storage space, I glanced around the room and felt relief. I looked at Erik's saucer toy and items he had recently outgrown. I felt nothing. I picked up the boxes containing the baby swing and the baby bouncer, but a wall of guilt kept me from carrying them out of the room. I stacked them with the other boxes, extinguished the light coming from the two bare light bulbs inside, and shut the door behind me. I moved the nightstand back into place, entombing the dusty items inside once again.
I carried everything outside into the dewy, fall morning to my Jeep and placed them in the back, ready to drop off when I passed a Goodwill donation station sometime in the next week. My pain, someone else's gain. The panic faded as I shoved the heavy hatch closed and heard it slam shut. My lungs filled with fresh air. I could breathe again.
I want to move on. I need to let go. I am going to bury this pain, little by little.