‘The Almond. Are you keeping it around to pass on to future generations?’
She pointed at the small tray between driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat. I looked. Sure enough, a small, dusty, dessicated almond sat there presumably oblivious to the interrogation it had inspired.
I took it in for a moment and tried to remember how it had gotten there. And how long it had been there. ‘How long has that been there?’ I asked.
Her eyes widened. ‘As long as I’ve known you.’ So 8 months. At least. How had I missed it?
The conversation moved on, but The Almond had wedged itself into my mind. Once seen, it could not be un-seen. Every time I got into the car, it greeted me like a small, intractable demon. I wanted to remove it, but something kept stopping me. I looked for hidden meaning in it. An Almond.
Why did it have to be an almond? Why not a shiny penny? Or a toaster streudel?
Was it just an almond? If so, why did my chest constrict and hand tremble at the very thought of removing it?
The Almond was more than a wayward snack.
The Almond was all the times I cut my own hair and left spots unshorn,
It was all the emails I failed to return in a timely manner.
The dust that accumulated in that one corner.
The parking ticket that went unpaid for no good reason.
The conversation that stayed stuck in the air, unexpressed, for fear of discomfort.
It represented all of the little things I’d conditioned myself ignore that, in aggregate, painted a picture of someone who lacked a certain degree of self-love and compassion. Someone who tended towards subtle self-sabotage.
So why not simply reach out and pluck The Almond from the seat divider and relegate it to the literal and metaphorical dustbin.
Because if The Almond really did represent all of that (which, I acknowledge, is quite a burden for a humble almond to bear), then discarding it meant acknowledging the blind spots, large and small, that I’d been cultivating for years, fixing them, and moving forward.
Once The Almond had been revealed, it grew larger and larger until I could no longer ignore it. So, one day not long after the conversation that brought it to light, I took a deep breath, plucked the almond from its nook, and threw it away.
After all the angst, it ended up being surprisingly easy. And it felt pretty great.
So here’s my question for you: What almonds have you been putting up with and what do they represent to you? And what’s stopping you from getting rid of them?
Unless they’re family heirlooms worth passing on, it might be time to let them go.