When mom and dad mentioned earlier this year they’d be selling the house this summer, only one thing came to mind: the time capsule you and I buried in the crawlspace. Remember? Dad decided to add on to the house in the early 90s instead of moving. After they dug out the space for the new foundation, we grabbed a peanut butter jar and decided we would leave our mark.
I remember it so vividly. Our mothers giggled at us, at how “cute” we were. I was ten? You were, what, 12? 13? Best friends forever, burying their treasures to be found years in the future. “Years in the future” sounded like forever back then. It’s all passed in the blink of an eye. I haven’t spoken to you in at least 15 years. Maybe longer.
What did we put in the jar? School pictures, I know. Probably our favorite Micro Machines. Those were the coolest things in the world! I lost my battleship in the front yard during one of our “wars”. We had nicknames for each car and airplane; “Wheels”, “Tugger”. Not particularly original I suppose, but they were our friends. One day, you were going to fly one of those jets. I’d be in the water, commanding a carrier fleet off to save the world.
Who knows what those school pictures look like. I’m probably missing a tooth, or two. I bet you have that goofy flat-top haircut. Freckles everywhere from long summer days outside. I remember playing until the sun went down and mom calling enough times out the back door to get to my full name. Then I knew she was serious and it was really time to go in.
Those pine trees at the top of the hill in the back yard, our secret base. The creek in the woods at the end of our street. Before it became a housing development. The salamander we kept under the bed in secret. The dirt basketball court in your back yard. The Nerf guns. The sand box with random bits of cat poop. The rhubarb plants we used to break off and eat, despite your mom nagging at us to stop. That tangy, sour taste we thought was so refreshing in ninety degree heat.
The time capsule is still under the house. I haven’t gone to get it yet. I figure I’ll wait just a little longer. I’ll go this summer, I’ll take my son with me. We’ll crawl under the house on our bellies with flashlights like Indiana Jones searching for a sacred idol. We’ll emerge, covered in dirt and cobwebs. I’ll unscrew the top of the peanut butter jar to show him the pictures, the Micro Machines, our baseball cards. Maybe a note we tucked inside?
I want him to know the joy of making memories, and of keeping them alive. He needs to know that even when you don’t talk to someone every day, even after years, those memories remind you who you are. Who you wanted to be, and keep you steady when you begin to veer off course.
I’ll send you what I find.