January 11, 2010
By JoySha SILVER, Houston, Texas
JoySha SILVER, Houston, Texas
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It was a cold, wintry day at Washington in the spring. The trees were still mostly barren with a few green leaves just starting to appear. The Washington Zoo was busy enough to get lost in. I walked to the panda bear exhibit, which I had been anticipating the whole day. I always thought that pandas were cute and fluffy from the stuffed toys I had of them. They had always been my favorite kind of bear. I met up with some friends and started to take pictures, mostly of the pandas. The pandas had pink bellies with white surrounding it and black surrounding the white. They were eating some sort of hard yellow substance. I couldn’t help thinking how cute they were. Finally, a teacher strode up to us and said with a smile, ”The bus leaves in fifteen minutes. Ya’ll better go back now.”

We walked to the lot and hung around the lot since we had about ten minutes to spare. “Have any of you seen Hadley?” I asked. Hadley was a skinny girl with sort of sandy colored hair. She had light-colored skin with some not-so-noticeable freckles on her face with blue eyes. She was one of the most awesome people I knew. She didn’t think she was that great but I would say that I would trust my secrets with her.
“I think she went into the gift shop,” Christina answered. I told her thanks and walked off to the gift shop.

At the gift shop, I saw a couple masks, thinking I may buy one. I thought I could get one to remind me of our trip. Maybe a panda mask to remind of me visiting the Washington Zoo, I thought. Before I could pick one and buy it, a teacher came up to me and said, “ You need to get on the bus now.” I was disappointed that I couldn’t buy a mask. I had been thinking about trying to quickly buy a panda mask and purchase it at the counter. The only reason I didn’t was the fear of the bus driving away with out me on it. Instead I decided to get on the bus without any mask.

Inside the bus, I found Hadley, pensively looking out the window, and I sat next to her. “So what’d you buy?” I asked her. “A tiger mask,” she replied, holding it up to her face. The mask had holes for her eyes, nose, and mouth. The ears were black and had the jaw area white with little dots showing where the whiskers were. The face was orange from the nose and up and there were black stripes all along the outer part of the mask. I laughed. The mask wasn’t that cheap looking; it looked real to an extent that I couldn’t believe how real it looked. It was funny looking at someone with a tiger head and human body. “Let me take a picture of you,” I said. Hadley raised her hands mocking imaginary claws, which made me laugh even more. “Send me that picture,” she told me, after I had taken it.

When it was time to leave, Hadley couldn’t find her mask. She searched hard for it but didn’t waste too much time looking. She was really upset. She kept asking, ”Where is it?” She was frantic to find it. We helped her look for it, but when we told her none of us could find it she didn’t cry but sort of hid her face. I would describe it as sort of silent mourning. The rest of us decided to just keep packing and not dwell on it and convinced Hadley not to either. When we got on the bus, Tres handed the mask to Hadley, saying, “Thanks for letting me borrow it.” Hadley was so happy; her face lightened up. She immediately packed it in her bag. She turned to me and said, “Never again.” I guess she meant that we would never speak of it. Or maybe she meant that she would never get in a situation where she would let some one borrow it. Also, Hadley being clumsy sometimes, I guess she didn’t want some embarrassing story going around.
As we drove away, I started to think how important that mask was. It was a simple souvenir that could hold so many memories. I had gotten some picture, but to me, souvenirs are different. Objects can have many stories with different views while pictures have one story with one or two perspectives. Picture, on one hand, can be passed down from generation to generation with a story about it. Souvenirs, on the other hand, also can be passed down but they are more like a storybook. They, like a book, look the same to every one on the outside but on the inside there are different stories. They can sometimes be relevant to each other and sometimes not. That is why souvenirs or gifts can be, as they say, “one man’s trash and anothers treasure.”

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