When I was seven years old, my father took us camping in Key West. Nothing special happened during this trip. Or so I thought. It was a typical Key West trip. Sun, Sand, Fishing – the things you do when in the keys – except for one minor detail. Her name was Tracy. Her father and mine became friends, as did she and I. For the time that we were there we were inseparable On the boat, on the beach, climbing rocks – which provided me with a scar I carry to this day – it was me and her, her and me. At the end of our stay they helped us pack up our car and we helped them pack their truck. I can’t remember our car but for some reason i remember that truck. It was maroon, and had flared fenders with scratches on them that were rusted and flaking bits that almost matched the color of the paint. I remember the bumper, metal gray and slightly flared out on either side. The memory of the bumper is vivid. I imagine it is so vivid because I watched that truck drive away, carrying Tracy off with it. Before she got in her fathers truck she kissed me on the cheek, said it was nice to meet me, and she gave me this shell. I suppose we did not exchange information because we were so young, but I have never forgotten her.
I still have this shell. I’ve been lugging this shell around with me for the last 33 years. I have moved – A LOT. And in every location in which I have lived, it has been predominantly displayed. It is one of my prized possessions. I have often wondered what the fact that it is says about me. Is this about young love? A fond family memory? I don’t think there is anything I own that has been with me for that long. So why has this shell taken it’s place in my life? Why is this my oldest friend?