Burned Out Ends

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A desk is a time capsule.

I’m digging through my desk at home, sorting through the odds and ends and papers, trying to figure out what’s important and what needs to be tossed. Now my desk is empty, but my bed is covered in little piles of oddments. These will be moved to the floor for later consideration. The desk itself is being moved to my apartment on Saturday, so it needs to be empty.

I was amazed at what I found.

Memorabilia from years ago…cards from people I’d forgotten, high school art projects, even reports from sixth grade. I found my diary from 1999-2004 and got lost in that for a while. I found pictures from my trip to New York in 2010–taken on a disposable camera, no less. My desk was littered, but littered with memories. Dreams. Well-wishes. Lost ambitions. I had forgotten that I originally planned to major in 2-D art.  

I’ve sorted through them. I should be able to fit what’s necessary to keep into a couple of boxes. There’s a swollen trash bag glutted with things I decided were unnecessary memories.

I’ve discovered something interesting about myself. I am frustrated by the necessity of keeping official documents. I see no need to keep a bill if I’ve already paid it. That’s over and done with. The transaction was made. My father assures me such scraps should be kept, so I am to be saddled with boxes full of paper I’ll never look at again.

But I assign great value to the notes I got from my best friend during high school and college. My first research paper means a lot to me. The poems I wrote for high school English classes are valuable to me, even if only to show me how far I’ve come. I’ll take those out of boxes and look at them. Yearly. I’ll look and remember what I learned at that time, where I went, what I did, who my friends were…who I was.

Sorry, but bank statements don’t do that for me. They’re just soulless numbers.

Yes, yes, I understand (sort of) why you have to keep track of such things. But no one told me I had to like it. I can’t help it if I was made to monitor my emotional journey more closely than my physical one.

But all of that…in a desk. All those memories tucked away into that heavy rolltop.

I should have cleaned it out a lot sooner.  

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