Hidden deep in a dark wooden drawer, there’s a slightly ripped cardboard shoebox. Now, this box may not look like much; with the Vans logo stamped multiple times all over its sides; its rugged, jagged edges; or the penny-sized hole punched on the lower-left corner. On the outside, it looks as if it has a ticket to ride. That is, a ticket to ride the greasy garbage truck. 

Nevertheless, when opened, it unleashes a frenzy of blurry memories like glitter from a confetti cannon. Inside, papers and objects range from large to pocket-size. There’s the washed-up receipt from the movie you didn’t pay attention to– not because you didn’t want to but because your friend’s tea kettle wheeze was making it hard to. There’s the boarding pass from your first terrifying jerky plane ride and a handful of motivational energizing notes that were passed around in school. With this box, with each object inside, a crescendo of forgotten moments burst with radiance, each greater than the last.  

Whether we’d like to admit so or not, one particular memory will always be lodged in the back of our heads; one we can’t seem to shake. 

Being confined to four light blue walls has taught me three valuable lessons. One: becoming “Mrs. Bob the Builder” and excelling as a mini interior designer is not a terrible idea. Two: never–and I mean never– say “I’m bored” in a Mexican household unless you want a mop and a broom to appear in front of you magically. And finally, three: everyone should keep a memory box. 

I’ve had this worn-out box ever since my sophomore year, and truthfully, I wish I would’ve had it earlier. Being clueless as to what I had for breakfast is nothing new. However, not remembering what other people find unforgettable and utterly remarkable–especially something you did together– is upsetting. People don’t realize that some memories are slowly slipping within our grasp. With a memory box, a time capsule will be available at the tips of your fingers– brimming with all your cherished, sublime memories. A wrinkled, faded receipt can distort time and transport you to that beaming, blissful date with your friends at the movies. It’s funny how an entire emotion can be within one small tiny object. I realized this a year ago, and sophomore year, all with the receivement of a mini friendly Valentine card, this smiling collection started. 

In especially repetitive times like these, it’s heartening to have a comforting break in our well established “quarantine schedule.” A break to rejoice and unlock the deserted, forgotten moments of our lives that might’ve vanished without us taking notice. Quarantine is repetitive: waking up, online class, doing small chores. Staying inside, even if it’s for the sake of our health, can get heavy and tiresome. However, opening up this box, as dull, bleak, and worn out as it may be, provides a golden stream of hope that one day we’ll go back to how it once was—a golden river fostering happy, promising times.

Marissa Llamas is currently a junior at Jimmy Carter Early College High School. She is in extracurricular activities such as UIL, The National Honor Society and the Texas Association of Future Educators. She has been doing UIL Academics ever since her freshman year and is currently in Mathematics and Number Sense. When she first joined UIL Math, she was shocked to see how she was the only freshman on the team. Last year as a sophomore, she went to the TMSCA competition for UIL Math in San Antonio. This year she was promoted as captain for her UIL Math Team. Her academic goals include to pass all her classes, to hopefully receive internships during the summer, and she plans to lead her Math team straight to regionals in San Antonio. She values how with a little determination, a touch of drive, and with true diligence anything is possible.