Thursday, February 03, 2005

Beating card

I’m a packrat.

I have three under-bed storage boxes stuffed full of things that I don’t need, don’t particularly want, but cannot possibly bring myself to get rid of.

Periodically, I muster up the emotional stability and the common sense mandatory to successfully prune The Boxes.

It’s always good therapy.

Tickets for a dance that wasn’t even fun? Gone. Photos of a boy who never called? Kindling for the fireplace. Newspaper clippings. Notes passed in class. Ticket stubs. Waste. Of. Space.

Of course, inside The Boxes are a fair amount of tangible memories that no organizational firestorm could ever convince me to depart with. Cards written in my grandma’s handwriting, field day ribbons from grade school and a paper deemed flawless by my 12th grade English teacher.

My captain’s armband from high school soccer.

My college ID.

My first media credential.

And a card from Heather.

Kept now for a reason markedly different for the reason I tucked it away during freshman year of high school, it’s one of my favorite keepsakes. Heather’s card evokes fond memories of a pipe-dream-turned-accomplishment and the realization that Heather was pushing me into the mud long before she dismissed my grandma’s death with a pause and a story about her boyfriend.

Heather handed me the card while we were standing at my locker. It was the morning after the cuts for the soccer team had been made. I made the varsity team. As a freshman. I was floating through my morning on visions of Olympic grandeur and college scholarships.

Heather was assigned to the junior varsity squad.

She handed me the card and she laughed and laughed and laughed.

I read the card and I laughed and laughed and laughed.

It was meant to be funny! She wasn’t jealous! Heather wouldn’t be so blatantly passive-aggressive. She was happy for me and she made me this funny card to congratulate me!

I should have been hurt by the fact that my best friend couldn’t be happy for me without being hurtful towards me. But I was barely 14 years old. I was preoccupied with lusting over the varsity letter that I would earn. I didn’t know that friends would dull my shine with hateful words and cruel actions in order to brighten their own sheen. I didn’t know that the tallest poppies are cut down.

I’ve since learned.

Heather and I aren’t friends anymore.

Despite our long history, it’s for the best.

Keeping friends around because of the nostalgia they evoke is the wrong reason. Friends are for the present. Keepsakes are for memories of the past.

And to teach the occasional lesson.


Unknown said...

Very well written post. Thank you for sharing. And you are so right... we learn lessons from the keepsakes of our past, so true.

This reminded me of high school and some dead friendships of my own. No matter how you rationalize it, it still hurts. And that's OK. It just reminds you how far you've come and what you want in a friend NOW.

Constance said...

Perhaps it's best I don't have memoribilia from friends that far back.
And perhaps it's a testiment to my own self-centeredness, as I have plenty memoribilia about me.
Anyway, there's no friend like an old friend.
I don't intend to be surprised by how much I'll miss them if I ever lose them.
Actually, it's a bloody miracle they put up with me, as little as I know about them. Where was I going with this? I don't know. I don't know Heather. I'm sure I never wrote such a note but I probably thought alone the same lines from time to time. Forgiven, I hope?
*feeling much too guilt now*
*wishing you'ld posted some of that other stuff*
*promising self to visit more often and mail that letter to friend sitting precariously next to computer*
*and finally, glad you broached the topic*

Plantation said...

Agree with my pal GFF. Excellently writen A. I'm glad others are now getting to share your writing talents and imagination. You go girl!

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