My bed and chest-of-drawers were given to me from my grandmother's guest room after she passed away a few years ago. When I first received them I noticed there were bullets in one of the drawers. This was odd because I can't remember either of my grandparents ever owning a gun, although my grandfather could be strange and secretive.
I cleared them out of the drawer to make room for my junk. Yet every time I take the drawers out to move, I notice a few more bullets seem to fall out of tiny corners. They are everywhere. Today I was cleaning out one of the drawers and noticed about a half-dozen of them.
It's almost mystical, like they drop out of some portal from another world.
I suppose they serve a purpose, though. Every time I see them I'm reminded of my grandfather, who was distant and left emotionally scarred from WWII, but who remained faithful to his routines, despite his demons-- A walk downtown for a cup of coffee, the crumbling of his cornbread into his buttermilk, and a stern refusal never to leave his hometown out of fear that his cat might die while he's away.
Today I thought about my grandfather and how he talked to everyone, yet never really connected with anyone. And I wondered if the payoff was worth it. He never (at least after the war) experienced the great riches of living in community with a small group of people he loved and cherished, but neither did he carry the weight of possible rejection and social isolation, the general messy-ness that comes with any relationship.
On most days I'd take my life over his in a second. But occasionally the heart weighs heavy and I would give anything to just crumble my cornbread into a cup of buttermilk and live my life oblivious to what I'm missing out on.