Things We Leave Behind

I’m doing some writing prompts by Ann Dee Ellis – eight minutes, unprompted and unrehearsed. I skipped the last two because they just weren’t working for me. So here’s today’s effort, about losing things:

When I was a kid, my aunt bought me a gold signet ring with a tiny sapphire (my birthstone) and the letter J engraved on it. I think it’s kind of a rite of passage for most girls to get one of these rings; I was totally thrilled to have a piece of ‘real’ jewelry. Then on one of our trips back to Australia, I lost it somewhere along the way. When I realized it was gone, we tore the cabin apart, checked under every mattress, in between the sofa cushions, everywhere. We even pulled open the vacuum cleaner bag to check if it was there. But it was gone and we never found it.

Nowadays, I’m a little paranoid about leaving things behind in hotel rooms. Every time I check out of somewhere, my mind is swarming with all the things that I could have possibly left behind. Even when I get on the plane, a part of me is still fretting about whether I have my phone charger and constantly checking to see if my engagement ring is on my finger.

But it’s not just material possessions. I’m losing time as well. Facebook memories are strange things, because I will see posts from less than a decade ago with comments (really meaningful, friendly comments) from people whose names and faces I don’t even recognize. There are big chunks of my life that have either slipped from all memory, or I’ve blocked them out on purpose. It’s scary, because it often feels like memories are the common thread between who we are at 6 and who we are at 36… and now there are big gaps in that narrative.

These days, I keep a diary. I have to find a better way of organizing it, but it’s just a Word document. Some days I come up with the most dreamy reflections, sometimes huge thoughts about the universe and the human psyche, other days it’s a total Burn Book where I basically character assassinate people until I feel better. I can count on one hand the number of times I have skipped back to read over past entries, but it’s comforting that they are there and I’m not going to lose them.

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