October 20, 2013

Maine Observer: Yard sale regret fills her empty spaces

More than a decade after the departure of a beloved rocking chair, parting with pink shoes proves bittersweet.

My first wave of it came about 12 years ago – we had a huge sale when we left our first house. We were ready to discard the big plastic, the baby seats, the things that occupy small children and huge amounts of space. It was in that yard sale that I nonchalantly placed The Rocker. The padded, not-terribly-attractive, wildly comfortable rocker; the rocker in which I had easily logged years as I nursed three kids and gazed out the window thinking I would never not sit in that particular rocker. The rocker where I cried, prayed, dozed, yawned, juggled babies and baby books; that rocker.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peggy Keyser holds her yard sales in South Portland.

And out it went – to the driveway – with all the other mountains of stuff we suddenly no longer needed. There it sat, mostly unnoticed, until this woman – curse her – declared that she would like to take it home.

It was in that very moment – the moment she clasped her bony hand on the back of that rocker – my rocker, dammit – that I knew. I knew Yard Sale Regret, and I knew it down to the very fiber of my being. That rocker was suddenly worth $17,000,000 (and I had only priced it at $20). I wanted it back – and I wanted it BAD – and I wanted to kick that woman in the shins and run screaming back in to my house clutching my rocker. She handed me the $20 bill, and calmly, casually, that witch walked away carrying ... my world.

I hoped she’d have second thoughts, decide the rocker was not right, ask for her money back. Second to that, I hoped she’d get hit by a car – just enough to knock the rocker out of her arms and back in to mine. Nothing worked. She kept the rocker, and waltzed away with a chunk of my heart.

This past Saturday, we had another yard sale. I am careful now about what goes to the curb on sale morning. I’ve lived Yard Sale Regret; I get it. I thought I was so past that. And I was, until – those shoes. Those shoes which had spent the last six years in the back of my closet. Never saw the light of day. Those shoes. You know the ones – the ones that rubbed bloody blisters on your feet when you wore them to your nephew’s wedding in 2002. They’re PINK for crying out loud – I don’t even LIKE pink. You could hardly call them shoes – they were barely slip ons. Impossible to walk in. They were Yard Sale Gold; barely worn, sure to sell. And there they sat ... until this woman appeared (damn her) and shoved her sweaty feet into my pink shoes. “STOP!!!” (I screamed on the inside) but alas – she strode away with her feet jammed in my pink shoes. Days later, I still weep. Days later, with a fistful of bills shoved in my pocket and a basement now blissfully empty, the small spot in my closet which once housed my pink shoes is instead occupied by ... yard sale regret.

– Special to the Telegram

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