I knew I’d been putting it off, but I just couldn’t bear to part with my old wallet. Still, when faced with the prospect of actually cleaning the apartment or doing something else productive I saw the “new” wallet—which had been sitting on my desk with the tags still on for a year now—and decided this could be as good excuse as any for procrastinating. But it’s not like I had to justify anything to anyone but myself.
The wallet was one of those fat nylon canvas ones, with lots of zippers and pockets that had slowly accumulated junk. Kneeling on the dusty hardwood, I began to lay out its contents before me. The main inner pocket held a few dollar bills and a handful of change. Next came all of the credit cards, the gift cards, the business cards and three library cards for the same library. My driver’s license photo grinned at me from it’s plastic window. I slid out the license and tossed it next to my ATM card.
Behind my license was the white slip of paper from a fortune cookie and a guitar pick I caught at a concert once. Both of those were slid out from behind the plastic and laid gingerly on the floor. I remembered the night I caught the pick, both awesome and awful and full of long drives from Providence to Lowell to Oxford to home. I don’t listen to that band anymore, but I kept the pick anyway. The fortune cookie slip read, “Your ability to find the silly in the serious will take you far”. Both of these items reminded me of somebody that I used to know.
This all just felt like sorting through the last few years of my life, all the things that I had held onto: old receipts, a student ID from my freshman year of college, an expired condom, two playing cards, bits and pieces of photographs, a tiny little ziploc bag that once held some sort of powder drug. I organized them in piles on the floor and weeded out what would follow me into my next endeavors. After everything sat snugly in my new wallet, I did a double check to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. And I was glad I did, because there was something stuck in one of the inner pockets.
“Jesus fucking Christ,” I said to myself out loud, upon realizing what it was. It was a photograph, a senior picture to be exact, of someone I’d known forever, who’s memory sat in the back of my mind.
His name was Charlie, and he did have a story.
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