“But fate ordains that dearest friends must part.” – Edward Young
My 6th grade science teacher had a signed portrait of the Challenger crew and rows of floating faces in formaldehyde. This was my third school. This time, rather than being moved across town, it was across the country.
Social media didn’t exist in the late nineties. My best friend and I would continue to communicate through good old fashioned hand written letters. I still have them, in case you’re wondering. I have all my letters. But, aside from her, my connections quickly dissolved with each move.
Although most interactions ceased over the years, the memories stayed, locked away in my own rows of perfectly pickled jars. Like those various creatures in science lab, sitting on a shelf inside my mind is where you all reside. Those jars are another mechanism in my great escape.
You remain safe inside the jars. If you’re in my jars, you’re still the seven year old ballerina and not the sixteen year old gymnast who died on impact. If you’re in my jars, you’re still the fifteen year old girl who knew all my secrets in sign language and code. Now she’s a grown woman whom I haven’t seen since her wedding a decade ago, and bore a son I’ll never meet. Locked away inside a jar for 728 weeks is the love of my life and not the reality of him in love with someone else. If you’re in one of the jars, you’re still mine.
My perfectly pickled friendships remain preserved. There is no risk of damage, no fading of memory. There is also, no risk of ourselves growing in opposite directions and the pressure to try and fit into each other’s lives. Even now with the advent of multiple social media outlets and friends who live in the same zip code, I find myself continuing the process. I am continually preparing myself to leave. Because, lets face it, it hurts less when I leave first.
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