Friday, October 24, 2008

Having Found My Senior Picture . . .

. . . an old friend e-mailed me. She had been going through her box of photos when she came across it. She asked if I, too, have a box I store keepsakes in.

I did. The plain white box was one I had used to send a friend my copy of Love in the Time of Cholera. It was on my doorstep several days later. The top read, "Return to Sender." There was no confusion in postage or delivery. The handwriting was hers. I placed the photos of us in that box, and it disappeared until I moved out of that house in Lawrence. I took to placing the few photos I had in that box as well.

When I arrived to Chicago, I found myself completely alone. I didn't know anyone in this city of three-million. Even worse, being surrounded by so many people, and not knowing a single one only helped to exasperate the loneliness. I thought back to a Ripley's Believe or Not I saw as a kid. A caption beneath a shark with a barrel in it's mouth read, "A shark was found with a barrel of fish lodged in it's jaws. The shark died of starvation. Believe it or not!" I'd see groups of friends on the train, or outside of venues, all dressed up with someplace to be, and wish I had somewhere to go. Instead, I spent my nights sitting on the floor of my unfurnished apartment drinking jugs of cheap wine.

If I was still awake by the time the bottle was empty, I'd get that box marked "Return to Sender." I'd pour over my friends back home. Spend too long staring at the girls I missed. Wonder why I even left. In short, the box became a convenient way to utterly destroy myself.

I decided to take away it's power by making it commonplace. I took the photos in that box, and hung them on the wall in the in the foyer. They greet me when I come home at night. Their faces are the last I see when I leave. What were once my memories, have now become my wallpaper. And never do I give them a second thought.

The box sits, empty.

1 comment:

Lee said...

this post is beautiful...