Stores of Stories

He’d told me that I could ask to borrow the Walkman. She was our friend and friends lend you things, he said.

I had barely turned 20 and my same-age boyfriend and I hung out at this older married couple’s house all the time. Mostly because they would let us, and they would feed us.

Yes, they were friends but I was not used to borrowing things from friends.

Especially adults.

She was nice about it, when I asked her if I could borrow it. She told me that her boyfriend from years ago had bought it for her. She had memories and stories about this music player.

I was grateful that she lent it, but even more fascinated by the stories. This house that I spent my spare time in was full of things with stories.

I didn’t have that. I didn’t have things, for starters. But I also didn’t have stories.

I hadn’t lived enough to collect them. Either of them.

That has changed.

Now my home is full of things that have storied memories. I have so many things, with so many more stories that likely no one else is interested in.

A friend of mine is selling his home, where all his children grew up. His real estate agent blew through giving him advice on how to make the house appealing to strangers.

“Oh THAT picture has to go!”

Philistines. Can’t they appreciate the beauty of my precious thing?

My own things. My own stories. My beloved items with their memories and exquisite arrangements are gray fog to others.

Maybe they are the shibboleths that help me recognize other people who would understand my stories.

Or maybe things are just things. I broke my adult friend’s Walkman after all. I felt terrible but she was cool about it. She still had the story.