There’s a box in my room full of random personal items from my past. I’ve got notes my mom would put in my middle-school lunchbox, mix tapes made by high school friends I haven’t spoken to in a decade, and pictures from trips I hardly remember.
A few weeks ago, I moved to a new apartment, and naturally took the box with me. I realized it had probably been years since I last looked through it, and next thing I knew I was cross-legged on my empty new bedroom floor rummaging through it.
It’s interesting getting windows into your past. I would see a picture, or read an old birthday card, or listen to CDs from fifteen years ago, and I would remember almost everything. Vivid memories would rush back in, and suddenly I was 9 again, or 12, or 17.
But then there was my old poetry book.
I remember it just fine. Reading all the pieces, I thought I remembered them too. But there was one poem in particular, one I had written and turned in to my 10th-grade poetry teacher, that left me wondering how much I actually remembered about writing the piece. See, I thought I had been pretty closeted in high school. I mean, I had a girlfriend the whole time I was in this poetry class, and then for two years after that. But this one poem makes me think I knew more about myself then I let on. And I’m pretty sure my teacher did, too.