I have a friend who keeps all mementos of things he wants to remember. Theater tickets, movie stubs, receipts from restaurant, and even random brochures he got on particular memorable days. Pick one thing and he’ll launch into a tale of how he got it, and why he keeps it.
I used to be this kind of person. I have a big card box filled with pieces of memories of middle school time. Handwritten notes, origami birds, a few cassettes, crafty stuff, and other things that might look like junk but holds fond memories. I kept doing that for some time, and then I somehow became less organized, and things got scattered when I moved from one place to another.I still keep little things sometimes, but it’s getting less and less frequent. I guess the convenience of taking pictures as a remembrance has replaced the urgency to save something physical from the event. That’s a shame, actually.
Last year, I started this habit of collecting mementos again. I’m still a bit disorganized, but I’m getting better (or so I hope). A few weeks ago I went for a medical test, and while the doctor was doing the ultrasound test on my abdomen, she saw my necklace and asked where I’d got it from (to be honest, it was a bit uncomfortable to have a conversation with cold gel smeared on your abdomen and both your hands raised).
I’d never really given much thought about things I wore until I got that question.
I have a few things I wear almost all the time, and that necklace is one of them. I have vivid memories of the day I bought it. It was December 3rd, the last time I went to London. I was meeting a friend in there for the last time before she flew back home, and I was looking for something to be given as a farewell gift to her when I spotted this necklace. It’s a sterling silver necklace with a thin chain, and a small dragonfly pendant. Dragonflies are known for living life to the fullest, and after such a wonderful year full of adventures, it just seemed fitting. I remember my resolutions for that year; to take chances, live to the fullest, enjoy the moment, and have no regret. That resolution had brought me the best time of my life, and I wanted a little reminder of that. A reminder of grabbing life by the horns, the new experiences and people, defeating fear of unknowns, the feelings, and the memories that remained. So I bought that necklace, and I’ve always worn it since then.
The other is two rings that I wear alternately. One is a pearl ring I bought on my birthday, which has a story of its own. The other is a vintage sunflower ring with a tiny pearl at the center. It bought sometime around Christmas, on a day trip to Bath. I got out into the frosty morning and met Maša at the interchange, and off we went to Bath. That day was special for many reasons. Bath itself was gorgeous, and with the German market and Christmas paraphernalia hung everywhere, everything looked much merrier and more beautiful. Some time after lunch, the dissertation results came out, and I nearly choked on my eggnog latte as I saw my result. I was so happy with that, the rest of the day felt even better. I was strolling around happily with Maša when I passed this vintage shop, and saw the ring from the window. I tried it on, and fell in love instantly. It was a bit bigger than my size, but I bought it anyway. The ring always reminds me of the day I bought it. The crowd, the smell of roast chestnut and sausage in the air, the wreaths and garlands, the warmth of Christmas drinks in my hand, and the joyous feeling after receiving such good news and sharing it with a dear friend in one of my favorite places.
The last pieces, are two pairs of stud earrings. The first are plain pearl earrings which I bought on the spur of the moment on one of my last days in Southampton. I think the time I bought that is what reminds me of Southampton itself, as I remember walking that day with a heavy heart when the memories of the year started surging. The other pair is a Christmas present from Maša, which she gave on our Christmas dinner. “It goes with the ring,” she explained, while pointing at the sunflower ring I bought in Bath. I opened the box, and there were a pair of vintage sunflower earrings that looked almost identical to my ring, they could be a set. I screamed in delight, although, seconds after that I felt a lump in my throat. It was a month before I left, and our last Christmas together. Those earrings will always remind me of her, Christmas 2014, and how she turned from a stranger I met at The Hobbit to someone with whom I share my secrets.
I still continue to collect other bits from everyday things, but they usually go into a box and will only be seen when I feel particularly mellow and want to relive the memory of the past. While these things that I wear, are something I keep close to me. Something I see everyday, as a reminder of an eventful year that changed me to the person I am today.