The bouquet looks tired. She ought to have pitched it a couple days ago. She turns the vase to view the arrangement from a different angle and convinces herself that if she changed the water, she could enjoy it for another day or two.
He leaves hand prints in the dust on the cover of the box as he opens it. The box contains a package of lures, empty 22 shells, skateboard bearings, tech deck pieces and pictures of successful fishing trips. He keeps the packaging from the gifts. He’s yet to use the lures for fear he’ll lose one.
He closes the box and grabs for his cell. He’s hoping to make plans to shoot gophers or stop at the convenience store to pick up worms and go fishing or take a long bike ride. He leaves another message.
She devotes a drawer in her vanity to notes and cards. There’s one her dad have given her on her twelfth birthday. There’s a scribbled note from the boy that sat behind her in 8th grade English. She found a couple from college roommates.
The drawer is lined with the glitter sprinkled on the “fancier” cards. She remembers being a little girl excitedly opening a birthday card. The glitter would stick to her fingers as she read the card’s message. She believed receiving a fancy card was a sign of a true, lasting kind of love.
He has needed a new cell phone for some time. He can’t seem to make a decision on what style to get. He realizes his hesitation stems from not being able to part with the texts from his last relationship, even though the relationship ended six months ago.
The cookie jar was made to look like a gingerbread house. The base is cracked from slamming the lid down to quickly when trying to avoid getting caught stealing a cookie before dinner. Now the jar collects dust on a kitchen shelf. Instead of cookies, it contains the cake topper from her parents wedding 50 years ago – proof that her dad had loved her mom at one point in time.
The extra hours he puts in at work aren’t scoring him any points at home. He could delegate some of what he does, or make a conscious decision to spend more time at home and fewer hours at work. He could create a new habit. This current habit of working 70 hours a week began when he was in school. He worked harder than anyone else to earn his parents’ love. Would they still love him if he couldn’t prove that he worked harder than anyone else?
Each of them clings to their relics. The keepsakes are tangible proof that they are lovable – evidence of the existence of love in their lives.
In some cases, habits or behaviors have become ingrained security blankets. They perceive risk in adopting new behaviors. The “what ifs” are too big.
One day they’ll realize their worth.
They’ll believe that they are truly lovable.
They will one day know they have nothing to prove.