Working only part-time this semester means that I have time to do things I wouldn’t normally have time for, such as cleaning out my closet, sprucing up my bathrooms, and dusting my bookshelves. Yes, I should make time for those tasks, whether I’m working a lot or not, but I just don’t. I’d much rather sit and read a book or write a chapter or two, or spend time with my kids. Yet last Tuesday, I took a few moments to pull out the clothes I no longer wear and recycle some papers I no longer need, in addition to adding a few books to my to-be-donated pile.
Mixed in among the papers, books, and miscellaneous items was an old picture frame that had been standing on the bookshelf for probably fourteen years. Having been pushed into the corner, the picture didn’t get noticed much, despite the fact that I walked by it everyday. But Tuesday, I stopped, picked up the picture, and stared at the old photograph of me and a person from my past.
This person had, at one time, been pretty close to me for a few short years, but she and I had come from two different worlds. North versus South. Casual versus refined. Short versus tall. We embodied the classic odd couple, if you will, and that concept was never as apparent as it was in that picture.
In it, she and I sat on the edge of her house’s porch, me in a hoodie, T-shirt, and shorts, she in a long skirt, blouse, and a sweater. The only two similarities between us were the hairstyle (a ponytail for each of us) and the color of our clothes: black and white. As I continued to look at the two of us—young, carefree, and still pretty irresponsible at that point—I asked myself why I still even had that picture. We no longer spoke to one another, no longer exchanged birthday greetings, rarely even “liked” a post on Facebook, that’s how far removed we are from one another.
Did I need to keep that picture? While I smiled at the lack of lines on my face and the youth in my cheeks, did I really harbor any emotional sentiment toward the photo? Toward the person? And couldn’t someone else benefit from that tiny frame?
The answers arrived fast and furious. No. No. No. Yes.
I pried the photo from the back of the frame, and for the first time in my life, I let go of a photo. It felt strange to toss the picture into the trash, but staring at the photo for so many moments had reminded me that I’m no longer that young kid sitting next to my friend.
Times have changed. I’ve changed. She’s changed. Our lives have changed. We’ve both made memories, separate from each other, made decisions that don’t involve one another. It’s neither good nor bad that we no longer are connected, it just is.