I tend to forget things easily, whether it be memories or personally owned items. I would misplace my belongings constantly, causing me to go on a rampant fifteen to thirty minute search. The bigger the item, the longer it would remain lost. But by some twist of fate, it would show up in the most obvious of places or in an area that I had already searched. Sometimes they showed up in the backseat of my car, at the bottom of my underwear drawer, sometimes on the edge of the counter, half-covered by a roll of tape or pack of batteries. Despite being lost or forgotten, they always found a way back at the right times.
It was a week before Christmas and I was tearing apart my room, in search of my car keys. I had yet to finish my Christmas shopping and was in a rush to head to the mall. I had finally made the time and commitment to look for appropriate presents, other than a gift card or self-help books. But the first step was getting out of the house. After my room proved to be key-less, I decided to look in the living room. I checked in all the usual places: on the table, underneath the table, on the key rack (for the fifth time), but to no avail. I dug in between the cracks of the sofa, praying to God that my keys would be there. My hands brushed across something flat and glossy. I wondered what could it be. It hadn’t been there the last time I lost something.
After thoroughly searching the couch and coming up empty-handed, I went back to the glossy sheet of paper and pulled it out. I stared at it for a minute before my mind could finally process what it was. It was a photograph of myself, standing hand in hand with my first love. I sat on the floor and propped myself against the sofa. I looked at the photograph again in detail. We both wore a black shirt with blue jeans, white sneakers, and a maroon hat. There was a crease on the upper right corner and the picture had faded quite a bit. But the smiles and stares filled with love were still there.
It had been over two years since I last saw her, maybe three since we broke up. All of our memories started to flood my mind, my heart yearning for another’s embrace. But I didn’t yearn for her. Our love had died long before our final farewell. However, we stayed with each other out of routine and familiarity. We had gotten to the age where it was difficult to go back into the dating market, so it was easier to stay together, although there were no visible sparks to be seen. At least not like the beginning. When we finally did decide to end things, it was on a mutual front. There were no ill feelings or sharp words that could ruin our friendship. But when I woke up to an empty side of the bed the very next day, I felt cold and empty. She must have felt something similar, because she called me two days later asking if we had made a mistake. We tried to work things out with sincere honesty. However, after a few months of bliss, we would always end up at the door to the end. It took a while to get used to being single again. A long while, coupled with a few drunken nights and unsent messages, but we got used to it. I got used to it. But seeing this picture, seeing how in love we were, makes me think that maybe we could give it a shot again. That maybe our love was lost somewhere obvious, like in between the cracks of a sofa, and it is just patiently waiting to be found again. The corners of my mouth curled slightly upwards at the thought, however, I knew the truth. I got up to my feet and placed the photograph face down on the counter. I closed my eyes and reeled back the memories that had poured out, one by one, until they were safely sealed in a vault somewhere in my mind. I opened my eyes, looked towards the door, and saw my keys hanging from the lock. Found it, finally.