why should the fire die? played in the backround and a plate with two no-bake cookies sat next to me. i pulled out my school binder and the encyclopedia i was using to research Marie Curie and set to work.
i kept glancing at my blue binder, covered with the names of bands i thought were the coolest things back when i was thirteen. dc talk, smalltown poets, jars of clay, supertones, burlap to cashmere — they’re all there. i still remember the day i graduated into a binder. i don’t remember what year it was (maybe sixth), but i remember feeling so old and grown up when my mom handed it to me. the older girls had binders for their work and i had wanted my own for so very long. i thought that school would be so much more fun with a binder to keep all my work organzied in.
it eventually was decorated with little girl flowers and the names of two girls i thought would be my best friends forever. one lived in paris and the other in a smalltown outside of pittsburgh. i wrote letters to both of them. one had long blonde hair and a big family. the other had shorter dirty-blonde hair and had a big family. i had red hair and a big family. i thought they were cool and they both thought i was cool. obviously, they were perfect for me.
i’m not in contact with either of them anymore.
as the years went on, more and more quotes and lyrics were written on it. i then started my highschool years and became terribly embarrassed because of the poorly spelled words (for example, raimbow) and the ridiculous bands spelled in horrible wanna-be bubble letters in various colors. i guess at sixteen you get too old for that kind of stuff.
tonight, even while a friend sat at the kitchen table with me, i didn’t put it away. i kept looking at it and laughing at the childish flowers and handwriting. to me, this blue binder, filled with maps i’ve drawn, reports i’ve written, vocabulary words with definitions, math lessons, notes and answers for science questions, etc… all of this represents the season of life i’ve been living for the past eighteen years. on june 16th, all of that will be over. on that day i will surely put the binder in the garbage and put an end to it all.
i think at that point, i’ll be able to fully understand that i really am eighteen now. no longer a little girl, with the bowl haircut, quietly looking at you during worship.
O men, grown sick with toil and care,
Leave for awhile the crowded mart;
O women, sinking with despair,
Weary of limb and faint of heart,
Forget your years to-day and come
As children back to childhood’s house.