It took three months to notice that I left my shoe-box of love letters and journal entries under a bed, in a room, in an attic. This particular room was on Barnard street where I spent my last year of college. By the time I realized I’d left it, the shoe-box was already long gone.
I’ve been a journaler ever since I can remember. Instead of doing my homework during “study hour”, I’d write swirly lines shaped in hearts and stars and last names of boys I had crushes on. In the shoe-box left under the bed in the attic of 249 S. Barnard street were letters, photos, journal entries, cards, fingernail polish, stickers, and glitter I’d held on to from the age of 9, to 20-years-old. I cried over the loss of all of my memories thrown in the dumpster of a random landfill in central Pennsylvania.
Though I appear to be extroverted, I am rather shy and reserved in my own kind of way. Particular during my childhood. Like most girls, as a pre-teen, I’d stare at the object of my affection through windows covered with taped-up posters of the next holiday to come. I can remember one of my very first crushes in 5th grade, whose name I cannot remember because he left my school not too long after the semester began. He was so mysterious. At that time I knew nothing about him other than the strange way he smelled. I vividly recall a break in class when we read quietly to ourselves sitting indian style on the carpet of our classroom. My crush, I remember would always lay sprawled out while chuckling with his friends. I spied from behind my book wishing I knew what it was they were all talking about. Wishing they were talking about me.
Before I knew it 7th grade came around—then 8th. On my campus, 8th grade was the last year in middle school. By that time I was well aware of what butterflies felt like. Every time my (new) crush would walk by, my stomach would hurt so bad that I’d often times have to go to the bathroom to hide from him and take deep breaths behind a stall. For a brief moment I dated my best friend’s brother who was a year older than us. Dating for me, was more like running and dodging the person I was dating because I was far too nervous to actually make serious eye contact.
That soon changed one night under the stars back behind our school’s gymnasium. During the weekends, we had the opportunity to hang out in the gym, swimming pool, hockey ring or recreation area where they played lame movies. One evening, instead of eating candy bars and gossiping, me, my “boyfriend” and two other friends snuck outside under a small grove of trees. I laid on my back while holding his hand. That marked the first time I let someone’s hand graze the silky polyester fabric of the training bra I was growing out of. It was an intense moment for me. When I got back home not only did I write a play-by-play of what happened, but I stayed up all night talking about it.
Memories like that never leave you. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss those days. It seemed like I did much less analyzing and more writing despite the amount of grammatical errors covering the lines of colorful pages. I wonder if someone ended up reading any of those entries before it was thrown away? I miss my shoe box and the days of playground love.