A half-inch here, a half inch there, sometimes only a few ragged strands just off one end, but never more than a few small snips within a certain increment of days; otherwise, even as young as I was, I might have noticed the diminishment of my beloved security blanket.
Even now, I can still conjure up its jaundiced color; faded video also shows how I used to drag “blanky” with me everywhere I went (yes, encrusted with a thousand stains as it was) and without which I could not be put to bed.
Apparently, after my parents decided I was too old for such attachments, I never noticed how it gradually began to shrink like ice on a cloudy day—until eventually, after a number of months, it existed only as a single thread—my passage out of the labyrinth of toddlerhood.
This less-and-less approach remained a time-honored surgical technique of my mother’s, of course, and it’s she, safe within the inn of reminiscence at the county home, who first suggested similar treatment for my other problem.
Today, seeking to explain the half-life of my comic book pile, which twenty years ago had melted away a few four-color superheroes at a time, she attempts further amplification:
“You always were a clingy child, son. Heaven forbid, I try to throw anything directly away.”
But Sarah, my soon-to-be ex-, knowing how angry this still makes me, begins to hop in agitation. “You don’t mind,” she says, half-a-tilt, trying not to fall over. “I think I’ll wait outside.”
I’ll join her momentarily, of course—but only after a series of diminishing minutes that never seem to end.