- A ruined shirt of his from 2014, displaying the faded surnames of those who stood beside him when he graduated. How did it end up in my stuff?
- The names of coworkers from an old job, collecting within the dusty, untouched corners of Facebook friend recommendations. ‘Oh, we were friends’, I think to myself. ‘Just not that sort of friends. Not the go out together outside of a long thirteen hour shift, friends.’ The smiles in their photos don’t seem to match their cynicism. Though after Covid-19 began, I suppose all of us became a bit cynical.
- The YouTube playlist of ASMR that helps me sleep when I could not.
- A wedding dress, still perfectly preserved and boxed away in the back of the closet.
- The memory of an empty two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. It’d taken me weeks to clean on my own, and though the walls echoed it’s emptiness as I walked my final pass-through, I saw it bursting at the seams with memories of the past twenty-one months. Us, together, just trying to make things work.
- Debt. Always with the debt. I tote it on my back along with the paltry belongings that remain as I walk into my new life.
- A different badge reel, resting in the glove-box of my jeep lest my overactive mind dwell too much on everything except that I actually do need said badge to clock into the time-clocks that seemed so new and foreign to me, at first. Fifth floor, orthopedics. Fourth floor, oncology? Was that right? I prefer ICU and PCU, personally. More specifically, cardiology and neurology. That much hasn’t changed. Despite the year that has passed, however, I still find myself getting lost, here.
- The wooden dresser in the corner of the room with the large vanity, where my socks are meticulously folded.
- A relentless sense that things will get better. A thirst for trying new things that would previously had been denied to me. A taste for adventure. A desire to improve myself – physically and mentally. A knowledge that the worst is over, and that I have managed to weather most of the storm.
- Acrylic paintings on the walls, where the messiness of the cells of paint that I poured and flung onto the canvas create something beautiful – and it just somehow makes sense.
- A budget – something I’ve never taken the time to make or learn to make in the past.
- The feeling of a genuine embrace, with no strings attached. Though it is likely in my best interest to grasp the nearest needle and thread to attach said strings, as partners like him are a rarity at best. You know; the kind that you want in your corner no matter what? The kind that was in hiding as your best friend for years, before you ripped your life right out from beneath yourself? The kind that respects you, and loves you no matter the weather. The kind that encourages you to become your best self, and stokes the thirst for life that had been lost in you for the past decade. Yes. That one.
- Life in the suburbs, instead of the city proper.
- A smaller apartment space that, despite it’s inferior size, seems to wrap around myself, my cat, and the belongings that I elected to keep like a comfortable hug.
- The ability to fall asleep almost on command instead of laying awake each night, a worry-enslaved insomniac.
- The shoulders of my loved ones, my tears staining the shirts of the essential best friend, the mother, the partner, and even someone who I’m not quite certain where we currently stand.
- Lawyer fees.
- A laptop for gaming – something I haven’t indulged in seven or so years, as it was a distraction from schooling and career. Now, a welcome escape even as the sun begins to shine again.
- A swimsuit.
- The paintings on the walls. I prefer to paint in colors that remind me of the sea, as I’ve never been so enchanted in my life by anything else. Being landlocked has it’s downfalls.
- The curtains. The bedspread. The pillow cases.
- A dress from my high school graduation that I recently discovered, stowed away in the back of the closet of my Mom’s trailer. Strange, to remember how different things were, then.
- Berries in the fridge. My third container in the last two weeks.
- The eyes that look back at me in the mirror every day, encouraging me to always move forward.