boxIt started with a receipt. Then a wristband. A cork. A note. A postcard promoting a play we did not attend but that we got on a night I told a story at a fundraiser. Remnants from nearly every plan we had together began collecting in a box. I had made a similar box with one of my closest friends. She and I packed our memories into a wicker basket- cards and ticket stubs and photos. We would revisit it each year and re-live all these fun times.

But he has no knowledge of this box. It is a renegade box. And it defies the normal behavior I try so hard to exhibit. Do not leap when you see a text from him. Do not clap like you’re 10 years old when he asks you on a date. Do not tear up when he puts a recycling sticker on your recycling can to try to keep your friends from throwing their food-covered plates and utensils in it at parties because he KNOWS that recycling is important to you. Have the appropriate reaction. And DO NOT save the feather from Sheri’s Halloween costume because it reminds you of decorating the house with him and leaving the lights and gauze up for one extra week.

The feather is in the box.

I have never saved so many things. Or felt this depth of gratitude for the tiniest of gestures, the scrappiest of scraps.

I still have not rationalized this box- what it means, what it’s for, why it’s important. Is it because relationships are so shapeless and this makes it more tangible? Is it because I’m a tactile person and this gives me something to hold on to? Or is this some new weird love that has turned me into a schmaltzy hoarder?

I’m a big believer in energy. I like to think that all the little pieces work together to bring us closer every day. He’ll ask a question about me he hasn’t thought of before. I’ll bring up a new place I’d like to go together. We’ll plan trips. We’ll meet families. We’ll keep going. And the box will grow.