I threw all of your notes away.
I stumbled upon them in a rose-covered box, hidden in a corner of my bedroom closet, stowed away for safe keeping if anyone were to come snooping. As I pulled the lid open on his hinges, the neat stack of them toppled out, spilling memories I had long forgotten onto the carpet. I unfolded their delicate little crease lines and watched as your handwriting sprung into view, etched onto the faded rule of notebook pages. And while reading them— page by page, line by line, word by word— I found the moments that I had buried so long ago behind a pile of sweaters.
The notes that had been shoved between locker doors. Ones that had been secretly handed off in hallways. Scribbles written on receipts and post-it’s. A few poems that have no rhyme. Crossword puzzles where we wrote in our own made-up answers. Sentiments that include “You are beautiful” and “I’m sorry” and “No one has ever made me feel the way you do.”
I wondered where their counterparts were, where the notes with my penmanship had ended up. I wondered if you had ever saved them in your sock drawer, if you had read them again after it all fell apart. And then I began to wonder why I had kept them, why they had stuck around for so long.
We are creatures of habit and hope. We strive to hold on to good moments forever, even when we know in our hearts that certain ones are past their prime. Even when we accept that someone is not coming back, that something is too good to be true, that it was never meant to be, we still cling to it with a firm grasp and wonder “what if.”
We keep the physical evidence because it feels like disposing of it rids us of the emotional keepsakes, too.
I used to think that one day you’d show up on my doorstep, out of the blue, unannounced, with a bouquet of tiger lilies and a box with my notes in your hand. And you’d ramble on that it’d been a mistake. And you’d shuffle your feet and keep your eyes cast to the ground and I would know that it was true.
But some things are just better left as memories. They are best as fleeting moments that come back to us occasionally to remind us of a lesson instead of packed away possessions that weigh us down with a ball and chain. Some things are just better left as brief smiles on our faces at times past, that will only lead to times forward.