This evening I was digging through long-forgotten boxes and envelopes in my bedroom closet. I was looking for a short narrative I had written years ago to rework for a humorous speech contest I’ll be competing in in a few weeks. But to say these things were long forgotten may be a lie. Okay… It is a lie. I knew damn well what was in one of those boxes, and I half dreaded opening it. But I thought for sure I would find it folded up among the contents. So I opened the lid for the first time in over five years.
This box is a layered lasagna of papers, photos, newspaper clippings, ephemera, and bits of art that I have accumulated for almost fifteen years. Included, were things I threw in that were important to me at the time, letters that were written to me when I was living in the wilds of Alaska, ghosts of boyfriends past, and things that I tossed in that I imagine were too difficult to deal with at the time but too important to throw away. Looking back I suppose I thought I’d keep them there until I could dig them out and sort them out for myself when I could get a grip. The bottom of the box began in 1997, and layered on top were more recent additions. Basically, I just recovered shipwreck treasure in my closet. A haunted treasure. An obituary of a dear friend, images of asshole husband #1, snapshots of my most beloved pet, etc. There’s some serious heartbreak in that box, and my first impulse was to burn the damn thing in the back yard immediately.
But as I sifted through the contents looking for that printout, I discovered items that made my heart shout out for joy. Tens of letters written to me by my mother who’s been gone for almost five years now. Pictures of my best friends and I waving at the camera, beers in hand. Just like so many years ago, inside this box they stood out like flecks of gold in a troubled terrain. My priceless gems that have proven to keep me afloat over the years. Diamonds. I am a very wealthy woman.