Today, a new refrigerator was delivered. The old one was noisy and had towels stuffed underneath, like diapers, to catch its daily drippings. On hot days I had to hammer and scrape off ice chunks to get the old freezer door, which pops open anytime someone shuts the fridge door, to close. The outer surfaces are plastered with pictures, photos of Marika, notes and calendars that are held on with magnets from Russia and Target. It all comes off.
Analogies around moving out of an old house and into a new one floated by briefly but my mind was musing more about regeneration and replacement. I kept thinking about how there were only a couple of things that dated back to the days when Marika foraged through this fridge in search of a snack or to slather a hotdog in gobs of relish. Only two food items had overreached their expiration dates; surprising, as the fridge had moved in when we moved in, almost fourteen years ago. Along with the routine replacement of ice cubes and ketchup, even the collection of hardly-used condiments like pomegranate sauce and anchovy paste had been replaced at some recent time. And now the fridge itself was being replaced.
As I weeded out and stashed away the contents, I kept thinking of how the cells of our bodies renew themselves constantly and that not a single cell of me is the same as when I was twenty. I thought of the replacement of blood and bone marrow. I remembered my trip to Turkey, where I marveled at the ancient ruins and structures. There, I tried to touch history with my eyes and hands, but was reminded that the worn wood and even the old stone of stairs had all been replaced over time, over and over again, until little or nothing remained of the original.
Among the contents of the freezer, I found an outdated bag of frozen fruit I had made Marika’s breakfast smoothies with. I found a tiny container of the raspberry sauce she loved. In the bottom of the back of that freezer, among a half dozen half-finished bags of coffee, I found the gel wraps Marika used to put over her soccer bruises.
Suki chewed noisily on fallen ice cubes. The fridge purred away as I emptied its contents into garbage bags or boxes filled with ice packs. I snapped a photo before the old refrigerator was unceremoniously carted out of the house. Then, when the new Whirlpool Bottom-Freezer model was finally in place, I quickly transplanted most of the old stuff into the stark, sparkling and squeaky-clean compartments. And in the back of the new Bottom-Freezer, I squirreled away Marika’s old gel wraps. For new bruises.
It took years but I am now able to repair and replace, and take care of my home again. I wonder what I’ll be able to tackle next?