So I’m going to Alaska next week. Unfortunately, that means no new posts for about two weeks. Just a heads-up for all the readers that dutifully read this every week (you guys are my favorite, by the way). But I will put up a new post about Alaska as soon as I can on the nearest Monday/Thursday.
And this story might not seem as well done as my other ones. With semester finals and all since it’s the end of the school year, I kind of forgot it was Thursday, and took a speed write (writing as fast as you possibly can in half an hour), edited it a little, then put it up.
“Okay, okay!” I yelled at the retreating figure. It was my mother, nagging at me to clean my room.
Cleaning my room was a slow, painful process. First came the laundry. Then the books. And the papers. And more papers. And some more papers that seemed to materialize out of nowhere.
But that wasn’t the worst part. What made cleaning such a small room fiery torture was the space under the bed, that blackhole under where I slept.
If I thought papers were bad, my bed made me want to kill myself. But I bravely continued to rummage through that dark endless space filled with junk piling on forever and ever and ever.
I was halfway through when I found the box. That familiar tin box, with battered edges and dents tattooing it like battle scars. The outside was dusty, and I scrubbed my grubby fingers over it. Large, clumsy letters spelling “CASEY” was already fading. The “y” was almost all gone.
Prying open the small box with difficulty, I peered inside of it. I saw a crumpled paper, some ripped styrofoam, a penny, a tiny blob of dried clay, and a Scrabble letter block.
Temporarily forgetting about the bed, I rolled the contents out of the box into my hands.
I remembered them, these objects that seemed meaningless. Some of the memories more clearly than others, but I remembered.
The penny was from a chilly, autumn day in the park. It was windy, and my hands were numb. I think I found it when I tripped over a tree root. Abraham Lincoln stared me in the face, and I picked him up, delighted, forgetting about my scabbed elbows.
I wasn’t sure where the styrofoam came from, and I think the crumpled paper was just old homework. Probably math homework. I didn’t like math.
The yellow clay, however, was memorable. It was in a dire effort to prove that I wasn’t like the girly-girls, which happened to be the ultimate shame of the class. I wasn’t sure how much clay I ate, but I did get four quarters out of it.
And there was that Scrabble block, the small, black “E” engraved on it smoothly. I fingered the letter, the way I did when I used to keep it in my pocket every day. I had found it outside, right next to a four-leaf clover. I eventually lost the clover due to an accidental trip to the washing machine, but I considered this Scrabble block to be my personal good-luck charm.
I missed my childhood, and regretted the phase I went through, that wanting-to-grow-up phase.
Holding the lost-lost tokens in my palm, I tipped them back into the tin box. I hesitated as my fingers touched the lid. Then I reached in and pulled out the Scrabble E, slipping it into my pocket. Maybe I didn’t have to forget childhood, the naivety that something as simple as a Scrabble piece could be a lucky trinket.
“Casey! It’s been almost two hours. Are you done yet? My, you are a slow child.”
“I’m working on it.” I reached into my pocket, fingered the tiny piece of wood, and smiled, resuming my cleaning.