top of page
  • Caroline Wright

On return of collateral

Is it a bird? A plane?

Nope, just a handle. ... The evening was October 11, 2008. I was wearing a beautiful Maggie Sottero gown elegantly labeled "Grace Kelly" when my groom-turned-husband said he needed to step outside with his best friend. I gave him my best wifey stare, urging him not to be long (we still had to cut the cake!), nor indulge in another cigarette (he was trying to quit). He kissed me, promising he wouldn't, and that he wouldn't.

With fresh tears in his eyes, he returned holding the handle pictured above.

Uh oh, I thought. This could be worse than cigarettes!

But with gentle surprise, he leaned in to tell me the beautiful story behind the ugly handle: ... Five years prior, Michael and his best friend were taking a time-out from drinking and partying at an event while reminiscing about life, and love, in the middle of a stairwell. Because Michael and I had dated (on and off) for many years, inevitably they got to talking about us.

I'm going to marry this girl! he announced.

I'll bet on it!

Michael engaged himself in most determined and melodramatic discourse about the inevitability of him and I ending up together one day. Then, in a brotherly display of vandalism, with might he proceeded to pull the handle off of a nearby railing.

Michael gave the handle to his best friend to "hold" as proof that he would, in fact, one day marry me. ... While I realize there may have been cigarettes also exchanged outside our wedding reception the night of 10/11/08, and though some people went home without cake (we didn't cut it until 10:30 pm!), Michael received his collateral, and gave it (and this story) straight to me.

I understand the handle was a stolen item, but it was still my favorite wedding present. (Can you blame me?) The chunk of metal accidentally traveled with us to Hawaii, undetected, for our honeymoon, but fortunately also made its way home with us as well.

Now that Michael has passed, I can't help but wonder, while staring at the handle, if there is any way to use it as leverage to get him back. But I know some collateral can only be used once, and this handle has already done its job.


when there are no words, use these:

Your tears

they came too much,

too soon.

The goodbye

was all too fast

and not nearly enough.

I bet you wish your tears

and goodbye could switch places.

Then you could have at least

said goodbye too much,

even if the word itself had to be uttered too soon.

(No matter the speed of your tears.)

That’s the thing:

too soon always comes.

Yet we still practice moderation.

I say too much is a good, good thing—

at least then when too soon comes

you hold on to much more.


Actions speak louder than words.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Put your money where your mouth is.

While I enjoy writing freely, I still remember to do so with care since I know I have to back my words. Especially when I publish my work. I have to take my own advice if I expect others to accept it. I must offer stories that are meaningful and relevant so they may add value to someone else's life. I have to showcase the same character in person as well as online. (How else will others trust me and continue reading?) I must be conscious of my reactions to suggestions and criticisms, as well as compliments, since these are all within my control, and I must always remain in control. (How else will others take me seriously?)

I urge you to do the same:

Employ good character.

Be loud with your actions, quieter with your words.

Check twice before hitting the send button.

Take great pictures.

Take A LOT of great pictures.

Buy good frames (for your pictures).

Spend money on people you care about, and events you and your people care about, and less on things you think you care about.


I spent many days upset with Michael for leaving me so soon. For turning to booze instead of his family, his friends, or me during times of trouble. But I respect the shit out of him for how he went after what he wanted with pizzazz, bet on it, followed through, and cashed in his rewards with a smile.

He may not have had a handle on all things, but he had a strong grip on a few. To me this is admirable.

October 11th would have marked our 9-year anniversary. While we didn't have children, we did create a caring family who enjoyed snuggling on a tiny love seat instead of a more appropriately sized couch.

(Recently I sold the appropriately sized couch, but kept the love seat.)

Snuggle in peace, Michael.


No artist was featured (though one's work was a bit harmed) in the making of this blog post. While an apology is probably in order for the maker of the handle in the first photograph, he or she will not receive one because sometimes one's actions are so kick-ass, we'd rather accept the consequences of one's deed than ever take it back on their behalf.

However, to the artist I will say: Thank you for your craftsmanship.

55 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

On cue

bottom of page