Where are you? I look through old journals that are filled with bits of nostalgia, memories from the past. I search tattered shoe boxes that are kept hidden under the bed or in closets, the lids are torn and the sides are barely keeping the box together. What will I find in there? There are many boxes, in stacks, tucked away holding dusty journals and letters and small keepsakes from ones that were loved and loved me too.
I open the first box, the anticipation feels more like anxiety. I’m not sure what I am hoping to find, maybe a letter from an old friend or maybe a handwritten song on a napkin declaring undying love for me. Maybe. The first box is simple, there are old photographs of friends and moments that seemed so dear. I smile as I look through the pictures, each one bringing me back to that very moment. Moments that have disappeared so quickly, friends that were bid farewell and the commencement into adulthood. I sigh as I wonder where time has gone and what has become of the people I was so close with. Many years from now, I know I will run my hands over these same photographs and think the same things I think today.
There is another box, one I have not looked at in a few years. Maybe I will find what I am looking for in this one. I lift the lid and an envelope addressed to me is the first on the pile of many letters, some still in their accompanying envelope, some folded up letters. This is the box where passion lived, where friendship flourished, a synopsis of a past, and where all of that was also laid to rest. I read one of the letters, love. A letter dedicated to the soul I am, the person I was and the person I was going to become. A letter full of truth, passion and honesty. I hang my head and wonder, what has become of this person, this cherished friend, this eventual enemy who sought so hard to win my heart. I wonder if happiness has graced their life and love has found its way into their soul again. I hope it has, you deserved it then and do now.
I rifle through another box, thinking it must be in this box and my search will be over. This one is filled with letters from my dearest friend. Through sickness and health, through thick and thin. There are many cards that spark delight and I find myself laughing at the words scrawled in them. There are some that bring me to a moment of sadness as I will always remember how wonderful a human being she has been. I slowly close the lid trying to hang onto these memories a little longer. I move to the next box.
This one is nearing the bottom of the stack. I lift the lid and my patience is wearing thin. I must find it. This is a box I would rather not delve into, I reserve this box for the day I bid adieu to the world. I always say this is the box that can be burned. Still, curiosity grabs hold of me. I read the first page of the letter, addressed to me. It’s angry, the person who wrote this should have been close to me, but fearful of their own reflection became full of hatred and confusion. As I read this first page of criticisms, judgements and condemnations I realize I no longer need to read through the very many I have kept over the years. One page is enough. I wipe away a tear, sorry for them they have never known me. Sorry for them that they never will.
Finally, I pull the box at the bottom of the stack. I can’t remember this box at all. It’s a thin box, enough to hold a thin stack of papers. I open the lid, there is nothing inside. I wonder what was in there, I push it back into it’s spot at the bottom of the stack and slide the pile to the back of the closet.
I think I found what I was looking for.