Souvenirs of relationships past
We all have our own personal souvenirs—mine include a metal spaceship from a fourth-grade trip to the Smithsonian, a rock from the top of Mount Washington and a glittery Girl Scouts picture frame. While digging around in the recesses of our closets and drawers, we dredge these things up from time to time. But then there are those special souvenirs that we forget we have. And when these pop up as we are sorting old clothes to donate to Goodwill or as we are organizing our rooms, we find ourselves excavating our entire past love lives.
Everyone has something different; I’ve heard of everything from lockets and mix CDs to a “Walter the Farting Dog” book and Canadian boxers. Personally, my romantic memoirs consist of calendar tear-offs and a stack of sweatshirts and cross-country T-shirts that could clothe a small village. (I should really look into that Goodwill donation.)
The way that we react to these findings can vary, but while keeping sweatshirts and good books may be functional, the general destination of these objects tends to be the same place as the relationships that they came from—in the trash. But it’s not that easy. Like it or not, every relationship that we get into has an impact on us. You can throw away that mix CD, but the next time you hear that song, no matter how many years later or how many miles away you are, it will be just like you are back on that date when he or she played it for you the first time.
My most recent reminder of this was when I went to Six Flags with a group of friends—an innocent trip, no special day. After too much pizza and roller coaster riding, we decided to go on a relaxing ride—“Hey, how about that one?” As I turned to see what my friend was pointing to, I immediately felt my heart speed up. While I agreeably climbed up on one of the wooden horses of the antique merry-go-round, I couldn’t help the heart-wrenching feeling it evoked in me. I couldn’t stop thinking that any minute, my ex would appear from behind me and jump onto the seat next to me, giving the same smile he gave me on our first date at the fair.
While most of my friends clowned around on their dancing ponies, I sat on my white horse and reminisced about how much fun we’d had. But then I smiled. Yes, it’s been ages since I’ve spoken to my high school boyfriend, and things didn’t end all that well. But in spite of that, it’s been long enough for me to realize that I wouldn’t trade what we had for anything—it was a great first love. Walking toward the exit, I was able to look back without feeling any real pain, just a warmth for what used to be.
So as far as those souvenirs are concerned, keep them with you; they’re important because every experience is worth something. Just don’t let them clutter up the room. Make sure you have enough space for that new hoodie on the hanger, for that new picture frame on your desk. In the end, it will all serve as a miniature museum of the fun you’ve had.
And come on, who doesn’t need a broken-in sweatshirt to study in or some T-shirts for the gym?