Saturday morning while dusting I picked up the cat-shaped wooden puzzle box you gave me in the 90s. That box has traveled with me from Richmond to Auburn, Al, then to Boston and back to Richmond. It sat on my dresser during grad school, holding earrings, my grandfather's WWII dog tags, the sterling silver rabbit ring that no longer fits comfortably on my fingers. For the last three years, one part of the box won't fit back in right. And yet, here it sits. Empty now. I stopped keeping things in it several years ago. Every time I dust, I pick it up, wipe off the cat face piece, pull it apart and try to put them back together. And then the puzzle box goes right back where it was before. Memories of our friendship flash through my fingers every time.
Saturday, I didn't dust it. I remembered how we fell apart. I remembered missing our friendship but not missing you. The box did what it always does and instead of putting it back I held it close, cherishing everything that was good between us. Then I walked down the old steep stairs of my house and put your puzzle in the kitchen trash.