six hundred and sixty two: missing starfish
Last week, I realized I lost one of my necklaces: a studded starfish hanging on a thin silver chain. My friend Clare gave me this necklace, back in 2009. I was heading over to Denmark, for a summer at camp. She had packed a tiny jewelry box for me, wrapping the entire thing in tape. She told me to open it on the plane. I admit that I couldn’t wait. Instead, I started peeling back the layers of tape at the departure gate. Inside was a bottle of hot pink nail polish, a green bobble hair tie, the movie stub from Up, her starfish necklace, a hilarious clipping from The Onion, and one of her infamous letters to me. I’ve saved all the letters Clare sent me during our summers apart. Many of them are in the memory box underneath my bed. But this letter, the one she wrote for me to read on my eight hour flight to Copenhagen, that I have tucked in that same jewelry box, her permanent marker writing fading or ruined by my un-taping. This all happened almost eight years ago. In all that time, Clare and I have moved past writing letters across state lines or countries. We have texted and called. There have been long, almost incoherent voicemail messages. We have had bubble tea on the steps of the Flushing Library. And then, slowly, there was less of that. During our senior year of high school, we shared the same locker; no space was too small for our righteous girlhood. We kept in touch during college the way a lot of close high school friends do. Once we graduated and moved back home, we saw each other often and instant messaged during the day at work. It was a mirror of the instant messaging we did back in high school, late at night, about nothing, about everything. I’m so sad that I can’t find this necklace. I’ve turned my apartment upside down. I asked my dog, very seriously, if he did something with it. He’s a dog, so he just stared at me. I don’t know exactly when people go from close friend to casual friend. With Clare, I can’t trace it back to any specific moment. It’s no one’s fault. It’s not even personal. If she’s reading this, Clare, I’m sorry for being so dramatic, I know it’s just a necklace. But it was your necklace, it was your necklace. Even at sixteen, I was so honored that you gave it to me.