A few years ago, we added a decal to the back window: one of those you’ve perhaps noticed on the car in front of you at a stoplight. A family replica displayed in an array of flipflops or cartoon charicatures or Star Wars figures.
Ours was a series of four stick figures, each one wearing Mickey Mouse ears. A whimsical purchase on Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom. A Dad, a Mom, and two brothers, all smiling with their heads tilted slightly to the right. (No doubt from the weight of the Mickey hats.)
We were that family.
Through seasons of harsh weather and numbers of car washes, the stick people started to peel away. Bit by bit. Eyebrows, fingers, smiles.
“Mommy, we need to take the daddy sticker off,” one of my boys suggested.
One day, I agreed – with a frightening degree of impulsion. I wanted the sticker family to be either there or not, present or gone, but not slowly disintegrating and peeling away.
So I grabbed a paring knife, the same one I use to slice strawberries, and I scratched the hell out of the back window. I peeled away the remains, letting the little white strips fall to the ground.
(If you look closely, I’m sure you can see scratch marks. I took no care in preserving anything, and it’s possible I may have slightly damaged some of those red defrosting stripes. Eh… I’ll cross that bridge in a few weeks when I can’t defrost my rear windows.)
Be gone, pieces and parts. There is only room for wholeness here.
I filled the space with a new decal, crisp and pristine: University of Denver.
Sometimes you have to take charge of a situation. Sometimes with a paring knife.