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It’s amazing how the simplest of things can bring back so much memories; recall emotions of happiness and longing and pain.
In the summer after senior year, the end of my former life and the start of my new, I was getting ready to move into my new dorm at Georgetown. Mom made me clean out my room, because she and Sissy had gone all decorator crazy and wanted my crap out so that they could remake my room, whether into my room for when I was at home, or another guest room, I didn’t know. Or want to know, actually; I wanted to get the hell out of here, but that didn’t mean I wanted my life to be erased so easily. So I was sitting cross-legged on my white carpet, absentmindedly organizing stuff into things I’d bring to school, and things that could be either thrown away or put in the storage room- which we actually do have, because Mom and Dad inherited the house Dad had grown up in, and he had like a bazillion brothers and sisters. I think the place used to be a plantation or something; anyways, it had been in our family for ages.
While skimming the covers of books to see which I wanted to reread later, I was on webcam chat with my friend Ina on my Mac laptop, talking about something inane like how many pillows we were bringing. Ina was the only one of my friends to have applied and gotten accepted into Georgetown, and both of us were obsessing about anything related to college. I was sort of checking myself in the webcam when my hand hit something soft as it ran along the wooden floorboards underneath my bed.
I immediately recoiled, thinking it was something gross and disgusting, like that old bottle of shampoo I had found in my bathroom cabinet that was leaking. Hold on, I told Ina, who wasn’t really paying attention to me anyways. Sweeping my coverlet onto the mattress, I peered underneath, using a meter stick to sweep it into the open.
It was a pale, pearly color, kind of a tissue made pillow. That sounds weird- it was two tissues, the kind you blow your nose on, that were sewed together, and filled with some sort of cushiony material. It looked kind of sad, desolate, and so pathetic. My eyes immediately flickered to my bed; there were two other pillows that I had made, but they were nice and neat, not like the mess that was in front of me.
“Look at this,” I said to Ina, laughing as I brandished the thing in front of the camera. She scrunched her nose in disgust, and then said cruelly, “It looks like something Rory would’ve made.” I stopped, mid smile, at the name. Rory Woodward was a girl that had been in our Home Ec class, a girl that failed miserably at anything domestic. Rory was lively, enthusiastic, and wild, she didn’t belong in that class, but for some reason she was there. I looked at the pillow more closely, and then lowered the laptop top a little so that it couldn’t see my face, and more importantly, my eyes.
Rory and Patty, best friends, sisters, pretend twins. I wished I could’ve remembered what had happened to separate us, but it hadn’t been a dramatic breakup. Our friendship had ended like so many others did- gradually, painlessly, so quietly that no one had hard feelings or grudges.
Prodding the makeshift pillow with my pinky finger, I noticed for the first time that the bottom side had a word written on it with felt tip marker, in bright gold letters. Forever. It took me a few more seconds to realize who had made it, and why it was in my room- a silly game we had invented, immature for middle schoolers, where we left “treasures” for each other to find. I guess that was the last treasure before eighth grade, when Rory and I went our separate ways.
“Patty! I can only see your keyboard,” Ina complained from the other side of town. Mumbling sorry, I lifted the top up again, just a few centimeters, so she could see my chin and know that I hadn’t just left her there, like her ex boyfriend had. Ignoring her after that, I continued staring at the small white mass that was only the size of my hand. A corner of thread had been ripped off accidentally when I had stabbed it with my meter stick, and I gently lifted it up. Or, at least, what I considered gently- the entire top part ripped to shreds as soon as I did so, and a bunch of cotton balls tumbled onto my lap.
Rory, I thought with a faint smile. And as soon as I saw it inside, her favorite necklace with the thin silver four leaf clover, I remembered everything vividly- the sleepovers, the makeovers we gave each other that ended up looking like crap, and how much I had really loved Rory. How stupid, I thought to myself, not to talk to her anymore because we had grown apart. I could’ve talked to her again, IMed her at anytime. I was the one who chose not to, I decided wistfully as I fingered the little charm. Now I could remember Rory at least trying, and I content with how things had changed.
“Patty?” Ina repeated, sounding annoyed with me. “What are you doing?” I shook my head as I reached for my phone, then for the student directory I had on my bedside table with all my friends’ numbers highlighted. Rory’s wasn’t, but I found her name easily- Turner, Aurora.
“Just wait a while; I’m going to go make a call.” I told Ina, who was painting her nails anyways, as I dialed Rory’s number carefully.
“What? With who?” Ina’s voice sounded a little shrill, but I ignored it (selfishly?) as I rose to walk into my bathroom as the dial tone rang.
“Hey, Rory, it’s me. Patty.”