| What I’m Holding On To |

A Millimeter of Memories

“Just toss it!” is the rallying cry of these weeks. But some items we simply can’t bring ourselves to discard. 9 writers share

It’s late at night, and I’m standing on a chair, wiping down the top shelves of the closet in my room, in search of stray Cheerios and stale croutons. (Don’t laugh; those things get everywhere.)

I’m juggling a stack of sweaters in my left arm as I reach to the back of the shelf when my paper towel dislodges an orange piece of construction paper pressed tightly against the wall of the closet. I pull the paper out and smile. Memories.

It’s a collage a seminary friend gave me before my wedding: the two of us, curled up with blankets and sucking our thumbs, pretending to sleep. Hoods pulled over our heads as we grimace, faces plastered to the glass doors of the porch on the third floor. Pretending to talk on the phone, faces intent, bananas lodged between our shoulder and ear. Yellow balloon letters proclaim her mazel tov message to me: YUP, JUST ABOUT READY FOR MARRIAGE.

Something you should know about me: By nature, I’m a sentimental packrat. I’ll save every ticket stub, card, letter. But my environment dictates otherwise.

Living in a small Israeli apartment, I’ve learned to toss all those mementos. Goodbye old sheva brachos outfits, wedding invitations, knickknacks. Goodbye Baby’s first shoes. I throw out kids’ projects before the glue on them has dried. (I’m not heartless. I just really, really need more closet space.)

But somehow, this laminated photo collage has been spared. Year after year, I take it down, study it, glance at the gaping garbage bag lying nearby… then return it to the shelf.

Maybe it’s the memory of those days when being giggly and goofy were as good a priority as any, when we had the time to prioritize having fun. (Also, friends.) Maybe it’s because I like remembering how skinny I once was. Or maybe it’s just because it’s so small — even I can justify dedicating a tenth of a millimeter to memories.

Whatever the reason, I once again smile, shrug, then carefully return the collage to my shelf, sparing it for one more year.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 734)


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