I found a box. I pulled it down and peeked in. I smirked as I spied its contents. Time was of the essence and I knew that, we were set to leave in a few short hours but this box was worth plopping down on the filthy garage floor and rifling through.
As I sat, I flipped through cheesy love letters from middle school; photos from that trip we took as seniors to Minneapolis; trinkets saved and long forgotten; letters from a high school love, folded as only an artist could fold. There were notes from boys I met at camp, an expired ID sent from a summer fling, and newspaper clippings proudly declaring my superb swimming skills to my entire rural Iowa hometown.
I found a letter, penned by my grandmother while she was still lucid. I had nearly forgotten that this sharp, sarcastic woman existed prior to the confusion and questions and medications.
I found letters from my father. One for each week I spent at college. Some were filled with few ramblings and signs of a check; others were detailed novels describing the goings on at the farm. My father is incredibly smart, terribly compassionate, and endlessly kind while being disciplined in the way that military men are. He hates dishonesty. He loves punctuality. He hates skinny jeans and “low-riding”. He loves Wranglers from Shoppers Supply.
I am on the brink of change. Change that involves a cross-country move; a sayonara to academia, my happy home for the last seven years; a job hunt that has yet to yield any positive results; and a swapping of the female kind of roommates for the male kind of roommate.
As I loaded my things into a horse trailer in preparation for this big move, I labeled that box with a bright pink sticker and multiple Sharpie-d notes signifying its importance to future Lauren. That box is my past. While I have no interest in reliving the gossip of middle school, the loves of high school, or the heartbreaks of early adulthood, that box reminds me of who I am and where I come from: a rural Iowan with an excellent Dad, a nutty Grandma, and too many ex-boyfriends.