I feel good about that title.
At sixth grade graduation I was given the: "A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place" award from my teacher Lynn Hooper, who sounded like a mouse when she sneezed. It impressed me that my teacher could see in me what I hadn't recognized. I like things neat and put away.
But you know, a decade later I became a mom. Another decade has brought Legos, piles of mail, dust, dishes, dirty clothes, Legos, crumbs, two dogs, and Legos. And (a true surprise!) I don't even mind that things can't be all tidy and whatnot most days. But lately I've been bothered by the boxes of random, well, crap that have accumulated over our moves: apartment-apartment-house-house-house. Too much. So I'm going through them. Paper by paper, old cell phone by old cell phone, college binder by college binder.
The other day I was finding places for things and cleaning the bedroom at the same time. I found film from Sam's photography class, negatives of me playing basketball in shiny shorts. I looked through yearbooks and saw what Sam and I wrote each other. I compared what we said when we were together vs. when we were not (ouch). I found notes on lined paper we had written and folded all creative-like ("To open, pull here."). I found a paper box he folded for me, with a teeny tiny note, with these words in red pen:
How was 3rd and 4th? English was or is cool right now because the freshmen take those tests during class and we (sophs) get free time! The only stupid class I'll have today is math. I love being in a good mood! Do you like relish?? -Sam
I dusted the desk. I picked up bottles of perfume and cologne from a brass tray so I could dust underneath and around. I opened his classic, almost vintage at this point, bottle of Polo Sport. I breathed in. I was taken back to the front seat of his tan Geo Prism. I was taken back to hugging him on the porch. I was taken back to the first time we made out. I opened the bottle of perfume he brought back for me from Europe. I felt sixteen.
I fell in love with High School Sam while in high school, and I fell in love with High School Sam while cleaning there in our bedroom, with items from our life together scattered all over. I fell (again) for the man he has become, for the father he is, for my best friend. Plus he loves me even though I don't squeeze the toothpaste from the end of the tube. And he's still really good at kissing.