I've been searching for an essay I wrote, in my final semester of college, with a sweet artsy ditsy professor. My very first essay was entitled "TO MY GODDAMN SELF." When I turned it in I covered up part of the title with one of those sticky flag notes so I wouldn't shock her. The title, I explained in another (larger) sticky note, just didn't work without it.
I can't find the essay on my computer (I save a lot of things, even from classes I failed, even freewrites I'm almost ashamed to look over now- not that my writing got much better, because I didn't try), or on my one memory stick. The memory stick DOES have some interesting old things, like things I wrote about patriotism when I was studying abroad for the first time and the semester before that. There's also a picture entitled "sad blonde kid"- I'm glad the title made me laugh, because I did a TERRIBLE job in that Microbiology presentation. Mostly because I didn't know how much BETTER everyone else would do about it.
And I found old AIM conversations I had saved. I deleted a lot of them. A few were with people I once cared really deeply for, and some were with a man that I realize I cared for, but only when it was convenient, and with hesitations, and with no promises or commitment which is why it didn't last. But it was wonderful at the time, because we both only existed in snowglobes of time- suspended- no huge outside influence- just shake and replay and reflect on what once was. And smile. And put that memory back on a shelf, to remember again someday when you're older and lonelier (which is every passing day).
It struck me today that I am somebody's old flame. In fact I am probably a lot of flames and several flings. I am now something labeled dismissively when the "current squeeze" might ask about a picture or an old text saved on a computer's hard drive and not looked at for years. We were young once. Younger. Younger still. I'm burnt ashes and leftover soot, throwaway. But once, I was a fire, consuming, a light in the darkness.