The Story of the Plastic Cup

IMG_2538On top of the bookshelf in my bedroom, there is a plastic cup. It was placed there the day I moved in by my pesky brother, who set it up there and with a sly smile said “You can’t reach that.” He was right, being a decent foot shorter than him I couldn’t. I probably jabbed him in the ribs and continued hauling and unpacking the boxes that would start my new life in the apartment.

I had made the choice to move out of my parents for several reasons, I suppose. I wanted to be in town, and not 45 minutes away from everything. I was commuting in way too many times a week for that. I was looking at an opportunity to share a place with one of my best friends, and I was excited about that. Though honestly there was just a feeling in my gut that said “you want to do this.” When Elizabeth first pitched the idea to me, offhand, that if I wanted to she would like having a roommate, I at first told her no. I hadn’t considered moving before that, and moving out of a rent free place for a place I thought I’d have to live tightly on and get a second job to manage, add five minutes to my work commute, and generally have a LOT more responsibility than before wasn’t something that made much sense. But the idea stuck, and grew, and I don’t even know when or how anymore but I found myself hauling boxes on a June day. I was excited, I had to take a long walk afterwards because I had all this energy that wouldn’t go away.

That plastic cup was forgotten. I found a temporary second job, worked it for six months, killed a lot of the social life I might have gained by moving and then blessfully realized I didn’t require it to live. In that time I went to Texas and saw Amy, who helped me to decide I should pursue a degree in Paralegal studies and work towards that. I learned so much about myself and my limits. The cup was found at some point in the fall, I think, and I thought about how I should throw it away.

I didn’t. I found, you see, that I am a nostalgic person. That cup was not a cup, it was an item tied to a memory of a distinct moment with my brother. Not a grand moment, not a super special moment, not even a unique moment, as he uses his height to his favor as often as he can. But somehow none of those rational things swayed me to throw it away, and instead I held on tightly to the fond little memory.

It’s been over three years since I moved, and since that cup was placed there. I still think of that moment and smile every time I see it. But I have to throw it away now. I move on Saturday. My darling roommate has gone and gotten herself engaged, and that left me on a search for new lodgings. I’ve found a new roommate, and together we found a new place. It’s bigger, though it doesn’t have the pool and hot tub that have been so nice. It promises to be a new adventure, and I should be excited about that.

I am excited, I suppose. But nostalgia is all about holding onto the past, isn’t it? I don’t know what prompted me to move out of my parents three years ago, because I’m not the person to make such leaps of change with no solid reason. I’m happy for Elizabeth and her new chapter in life. I think Kathy (my new roommate) and I will have some great times of her own. But this era of being roommates with Elizabeth has been so special to me. I have grown so much during this time. I am not the shy, bashful girl I once was.  I love the changes that first move catalyzed in me. It is hard to leave that behind.

But I hold onto the hope this move will bring good changes too. Elizabeth and I went to Relay for Life on Friday. It’s apparently a pretty big deal in Billings – a fundraiser for cancer which goes all night and people walk along the school field track and there are 4,000 candles lit in honor of cancer patients. All in all it was a good event. There was a part of me that struggled a bit, thinking of Mom. I for some reason hadn’t even connected her story to the Relay, though I should have obviously known some memories would be churned up. But it wasn’t bad. I wrote a letter to Amy recently, and poured out a lot of the feelings I haven’t even voiced here. It helped, it really did. I finally got a lot of dark, sludgy emotions out of the pit of my gut and I have felt better ever since. But none of that was the point of this paragraph. The point was, that Elizabeth and I found a soft spot in the warm summer grass and watched fireworks go off. They were some of the best I’ve seen, seeming to pop right out of the dark sky and reaching towards us. And we talked. A really nice talk. We discussed how recently with my college and her wedding we tend to see each other a bunch but not really make time for each other. This event was the first time in a while where we just went out and hung out, just the two of us, making time for each other. And we thought that maybe with us not living with each other, and feeling like we were seeing each other but not, we might actually put more effort into our friendship. We might actually spend more quality time with each other. I certainly hope so, we need to.

I wasn’t quite expecting this move so fast. I was expecting it about a month from now, but you can’t quite make moving work perfectly with your personal schedule. I suppose it’s time to wrap up my time here with a nostalgic bow, to throw away the plastic cup, and make a new move with new adventures, new memories I hold onto just as desperately as I hold onto these. Change is hard for me, and certainly this year, but hopefully I come out of this thinking “I really like the person I’ve become since then”, too.

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