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This photo is from Homecoming night Sophomore year. The picture in my locket is from the same night, a heart-shaped cut-out of Lauren's beautiful smiling face. Lauren and I got ready together. We got our hair done and everything. She was so funny about it, she got her hair done about three different ways until she decided she wanted to keep it that way. We called her fickle; it was a big inside joke. Now every time I use the word fickle I think of that. We had so much fun that night, neither of us had dates so we went with each other. I wore Katie's green dress with my black dress coat. Mary Grace came over and Lauren did her hair - it was gorgeous. We drove over to the school and I kept Lauren's i.d. in my coat pocket so she wouldn't lose it while we were dancing. I never got to give it back to her. I wore that coat to her wake and when I reached into my pocket I found her i.d., right where I left it. For a minute I thought maybe I should give it back to her family, but then I decided to keep it. In the same pocket, in the same coat - it's still there, hanging in my closet. It's my little piece of Lauren, something tangible that I will always have of her. I haven't even worn that coat in almost two years. It's too big for me, out of fashion, covered with lint. But I won't get rid of it because I don't want to disturb or move the memory that it holds. I want to keep it where it is, the closest thing to the reality of that moment. It's a happy moment, and her i.d. in my pocket is proof that she was real, and also in a way proof that her death was real too. I also have some of Lauren's poems that she gave me to read for her. She used to write poetry all the time - she was really good. I was just going through some of them, and the thing that got to me the most, more than the words or the meanings of her poems, was seeing her handwritten initials on the bottom of a page. That was her, a real piece of her, right there. I am a really sentimental, nostalgic person; I keep almost everything. When I left for college and cleaned my room I had to throw out all the flowers I'd ever been given throughout my entire high school career - that's a LOT of old, dusty, crumbly flowers, flowers that for some reason I still saw beauty in, less for their aesthetic qualities and more for the memories they held. Maybe the reason I keep things is to have a physical reminder of my thoughts, my memories, the people that have affected me. The frailty of the human mind scares me; what do we really remember? What of what we remember now will we remember in ten years? Will we even remember it the way it actually happened? How can I hold on to her? I also keep old calenders. I love the pictures and the everyday reminders they hold. Looking at them right now might seem boring, but in a few years those everyday activities, or even special events you marked down, will bring good (or not so good) memories back. I have calenders from the year Lauren died; I've only looked through them a couple times, but knowing that those are from times when I was with her are a sort of comfort. I have a page in an old agenda where I wrote down Lauren's cell phone number, and even though I know I'm not going to call it I still keep that page. (One time this summer, a girl called my cell phone at three in the morning; it showed up as a missed call from an unknown number so I called it back the next day to see if it was someone I knew. When I asked her why she called, she was very apologetic. She said that this used to be her brother's number and he passed away about a month earlier; she hadn't realized his number would have been given away already and she just wanted to hear his voice. I didn't know what to say.)
I meant to go through all the memories of homecoming night, but then I got off on other topics. Maybe I'll come back to this again sometime and finish it up...