On throwing away five keys


I threw away five keys today, which seems as good as a reason as any to write. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I mean throwing out some old keys, not the writing; although I’ve been putting that on the back burner for the past four or five years too. The occupants of my key ring have been multiplying almost monthly with bulky car key fobs and half a dozen grocery store memberships – it was becoming incredibly difficult to find a pair of skinny jeans whose pockets will contain both a ring of 15 odd shapes and my fingers.

One was for the house I finished renting in September. It was one of those designer kinds. The background was black with a twisted Asian-style dragon and the Chinese characters for “Courage” and “Love” in white. I didn’t pick it – my landlord gave it to me when I got the house, and though Cory and I left six copies of the key in house when we left, I forgot to return the original. I really liked it though, and I was a little sad to see it go, but I knew I shouldn’t keep it because my landlord could be a cheap about things sometimes, and it’s unlikely he changed the lock. I’m careful to say “lock” singular because although the house had in fact three entrances, we were provided only a single key to the back door. He left two other keys in one of the kitchen drawers, but they didn’t open anything.

[Brace yourselves for nostalgic, border-line corniness.]

The key was pretty beat up, and probably not just from my pocket but the previous tenants’ as well. The house was beat up too, and although I cursed its thin walls and cheap single-pane windows last winter, I had a lot of great memories there. It was the first house I’ve ever rented, and it was only a stone’s throw from downtown; so whenever I wanted, I could easily walk down to JP’s for a cappuccino or soup. I made it my Sunday tradition to leave the house no sooner than 10:30 am, and mosey downtown for a late morning/early afternoon of reading. Now I just drive on my Sundays.

It was also the house where Emi was baptized in the Holy Spirit and first learned about the power of God, but that’s a longer story.

It’s a funny thing about keys. When I evaluate how likely I am to use them again, I have to consider the time I spent in their houses. Of course, I mean this in the most literal sense – not in some heavy-handed metaphor about casting away memories or anything.

The second key was for Emi’s old apartment in the building adjacent to our new one, which makes two keys I probably should have returned when we moved out, but the wedding week and the few weeks following were pretty crazy, and I don’t think the landlords noticed or keep track of that kind of thing.

The last three keys? Who knows what doors they belong to. My best guess is Cody’s second apartment in Atlanta where I couch surfed for two months, maybe Herb and Sarah’s old place in KC where I narrowly escaped permanent disfigurement at the mouths of bed bugs, and maybe an old office key. They were all standard grey, and thoroughly unremarkable copies.

Okay, I’ll end with some thoughts about God and Jesus because most of you like that kind of stuff. I often find myself grateful these days. I’m sure most people in their first months of marriage encounter similar feelings, but like them the emotions feel unique and special to me. Emi and I are quite happy in our two-bedroom apartment and feel that in our seven short weeks of marriage, we’re only a white picket fence and two kids shy of American perfection. How’s that for an almost-immigrant and her American hubby in their mid-twenties?

That said, our proverbial “hearts” are metaphorically starting to “burn” for something more substantial, and Emi often states how much she wants to go to Japan sooner, which I find hilarious since she was a hairs-breadth away from revoking her Japanese citizenship when I was first getting to know her a year ago. It’s funny how God changes our hearts.

By Erich Boileau

Erich is a disciple of Jesus, writer and designer with over 10 years experience in web development. Currently he lives and works in Osaka with his beautiful bride Emi, where he also studies Japanese language and culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.