The dusty glass box
encases a fragile yellow rose.
Dried, curled, and browning with age –
frozen in time.
One turn of the small metal loop
pressed against the base
reveals the difficult strains,
a bittersweet, old tune.
Music pulls forth memories
an awkward fifteen year old girl,
singing in unison with classmates.
Bouncing over dips and bumps in the road
from the back of a darkened school bus.
Laughter frames the memory.
Young girls floating above
green plastic seats as the bumps
launch them higher and higher
into the air. Landing hard.
Painful jolts that run up the spine.
They laughed anyway.
A gentle click,
the music stops and the memory
An odd little trinket,
a birthday gift from my grandparents,
given years after the memory it evokes.
The crinkled golden lettering proclaiming
“Happy Golden Birthday”
has grown fragile and I wonder if a fingernail
might scrape it away.
I turn to my partner.
“Am I a bad granddaughter if I decide to give this away?”
He looks at the glass –
not unlike the magical rose
from the Beauty and the Beast
stories – and shrugs.
“I don’t know. I don’t have a hard time letting things go.”
He hasn’t answered the question,
at least not the one I asked.
I stare through the grime at the rose,
play the music once more.
It isn’t a useful item.
Not one that is visited often.
Yet, its creation was well thought out.
A gift given with love and planning.
Still…its memories remain on a neglected shelf,
heavy with the dust of time passing.
I do have a hard time letting things go.
They are not simply things.
They are memory capsules.
Perhaps forgotten, but memories all the same.
Yet, shouldn’t we let go of old memories to make
room for new ones?
When do memories trap us and prevent
us from moving forward?
I hold on too tightly,
for too long.
Placing the old gift into a box marked for Goodwill,
I trace the golden words,
hum the old tune to myself,
and leave this memory behind.