Before There Were Blogs, There Were Boxes.
Before there were blog pages to fill up with memories, I was stuffing the treasures of my life in shoeboxes. It started in my teens. A box with movie ticket stubs and notes from my best friend. Another full of love notes from a high school boyfriend. I’ve always wanted to save the good stuff, the physical remnants of those moments bound for memory.
In the top corner of our closet sits an unassuming white shoebox. It’s marked with the letter B and a date. B for Brent. December 7, 2004. The night of our first date. Under the lid is a story, a beginning.
It holds the first thing he every wrote to me on a napkin; a brief note left with a bartender where I worked with the request to deliver it to me. There are brown and crumbling flowers, a collection of ticket stubs from college football games, and a dozen letters from a passionate boy to a twenty three year old girl.
There is a neatly typed poem I wrote for him in a creative writing class, it finishes with the line:
This place I never thought I’d be
Has become the only place I belong.
An autumn leaf, curled at the edges. A collection of tiny sketches of my features on ripped pieces of matchbooks, placemats and coasters. In those early days when our silence was sometimes awkward, he would draw to fill the space and I would watch with interest and a fluttering heart. I’d never had someone look at me with such concentration and focus.
These are the details that fill in the blanks of my memory. So many small bits of our experience have been filed away after eight years of loving this man, but lifting the lid carries me right back. I’ll lose hours sometimes, gingerly placing each piece of our history beside me as I go. Reading that typed poem again, rewriting the ending in my mind:
The only place I’ve ever belonged.
Lingering on photos from so many adventures beside Brent and the envelope I scribbled on hastily the day he bought me a diamond ring.
Before there were blogs, there were boxes. I suppose if this blog didn’t exist, I’d have shoeboxes to the ceiling by now. When I started collecting these things, I could have never imagined then what would become of us. But here it all lives. A tangible timeline of two kids on the cusp of adulthood who somehow made a beautiful life from a handful of cheesy poems, sheets of folded notebook paper, and old roses turning to dust. The shoebox in our closet is always waiting to flood me with reminders of the journey that brought us here. It’s a cherished reminder that I’m lucky enough to know love so real, I can hold pieces of it in my hands.
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