Capsule of Memories

January 28, 2011
“Mom, look what we found at grandma’s house!” Yelled cute little Hannah, running to me with her buttery-blonde hair bouncing in the breeze. Her knees were grass-stained, and her new polka-dot dress was caked with dirt. Behind her, struggling to keep up on his chubby toddler legs, her brother held in his mud-stained hands something I will never forget.

“What do you have, sweetheart?” I asked gingerly.

“I don’t know. We dug it up! I think it’s some sort of box.” She said, staring at the colorful memory.

I take it from her, feeling the heavy beat of my heart in my chest. As I did, a few thoughts came through my mind: I thought I would never see this again. Where did they find it? How long ago did we bury it? What exactly did we put in it? This was what was running through my mind as the memory came back to me. It was the beginning of eighth grade—some would say the beginning of the end. My last year of Middle School; my last year with my best friend, Emma…

We were in the car on the way to school, our usual routine. Suddenly Emma blurted, “This is it. Our last year together.” Now for some people, this would’ve been a sad topic, but they would’ve gotten over it and moved on, but for Emma and me it was a whole different story. We have been in the same class since first grade, and have been carpooling together since second. This would be a huge change for us, something I don’t know I can handle. We have always been together—she, the peanut to my butter, and I, the star to her burst—that’s how good of friends we are.

So all I could mumble in my sad stage was, “I know”, barely audible to human ears. But she heard; I knew she heard.

So during that bumpy car ride, we devised a plan to remember each other forever. We were going to make a time capsule. But not just any old time capsule. No, this one would be special. This would be our little secret. Something we would bury, filled with all of our precious memories of each other, and never see again. It was decided that we would bury this colorful box in my backyard, thinking that one day my family would move and leave the box for some new, strange teenager to discover and cherish as a bond between two best friends that will never get lost in our sea of memories.

Later that afternoon, Emma and I sat crossed-legged in my backyard, under a cool shade of leafy green branches. We talked and laughed, as we always had in this exact same spot. But this time it was different, something eerie in the air between us, almost like the wind was whispering, “This is it”, sending me a cold shiver down my spine.
“Well,” she stood, revealing two green spots on her knees that looked almost like they had been bitten by the grass, “I have to leave soon. We might as well just bury it already.” I could always count on her to make the conversation less awkward and get right to the point.

So we worked as a team—she dug the back-breaking hole in the ground, and I was her supervisor—that was how it always worked. When we were finished, we were both completely exhausted, but the ground was finally broken. We sat there, glistening with sweat, however there was a smile on both of our faces that stretched from one ear to the next.
“And now for the final touch,” I say with too much anxiety.
With careful, shaking hands, we bent down above our two-foot hole and, together, as best friends, put our box full of memories into the safe, muddy insides of the Earth.

What is in the box? I asked myself again. Oh, yeah. All the things we have ever cherished are squished together inside this box. Filled with the promises of a one-day-new friendship.

And so we buried it. Right there in my backyard, on one of the many hot September days. The box, colored in precise pink-and-purple-blue-and-green sharpie (pink and blue being my favorite, and purple and green being hers). We agreed that telling anyone about this would be a waste of time. No one can understand our bond, like a slinky, there is no point to it whatsoever, yet it brings a smile to the special people’s faces that dare to have an imagination.

Coming back to the present, I find myself in that very same spot under the leafy green branches in my parent’s backyard. The same spot we—Emma and I—had always sat under in our frightful-yet-amazing middle school years. Yet this time I see a hole, not much bigger than the one Emma and I dug almost fifteen years ago. I can see where the box used to be, and I suddenly feel like my heart has become the box, held in one place for a long time, working properly, but then ripped out of place by tiny toddler hands itching for the sound of their shovels striking something unknown. I hear my daughter, “Mom! What are you doing?” But her voice sounds distant, it seems like I am forever held in this magical place where best friends will never forget each other, not even after fifteen years. Yet here I am, trapped in a world where that is possible, likely even.

Because of my reunion with the box, when I walk through the door of my modern-day house, I am still thinking about it, and Emma. I remember the countless hours we used to spend on the phone, talking about pointless gossip that I now forget. My mind is still racing when my shaking fingers pick up the slippery telephone and automatically dial her number. I say the numbers in my head, even though my fingers remember them perfectly fine.
“Hello?” I hear on what sounds like is coming from the other end of the universe.
“Hi, Emma,” I say with a shaky voice. “It’s me, Melissa.”
“OHMIGOSH I HAVEN’T TALKED TO YOU IN FOREVER!” She screams into the phone. And that is how our first—of many—conversations started. We talked for an hour that day, and so became our new friendship. I guess one could say that our time capsule saved our friendship, but I never did forget Emma after that special, reuniting phone call. She has—and always will—have a special place in my heart as my best friend.

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