As she gazed into the box, Eloise felt a tear fall. It had been two years since she’d seen it, and all the warm memories flooded back.
All those moments… Like her sister had known.
It was Hazel who introduced her to “Leave magic”. “It’s keeping a memory, even after you leave the moment!” She’d explained, her eyes sparkling as she held the young Eloise.
As the little sister, Eloise listened in wonder, staring up into her sister’s shining, hazel eyes. “How’s it work?” She whispered.
“It’s easy. You simply take a little piece of the moment and save it for later,” Hazel told her, gently putting a leaf from the pile they were sitting in and placing it in Eloise’s tiny hand. “Let’s go make a box,”
“What about the raking?” Eloise asked as they got up. “That’s what we’re supposed to do,”
Hazel paused. “Fine. Bring the things out here and we’ll take turns raking and decorating,”
Hazel was four years older and always knew what to do.
The box had once held a set of seasonal candles, and it smelled faintly of cinnamon and pumpkins and wood, like the trees in their backyard and the good things in Mom’s kitchen had kissed the box all over. Eloise still remembered how Hazel had gently placed the leaf in the box and shut the lid.
“Time to decorate. You first,” Hazel told her, grabbing the rake they’d leaned against the tree.
There was a pattern on the lid, so there wasn’t much decoration on the top, only Hazel’s precise and bubbly handwriting spelling out the words “Hazel and Eloise.”
As Eloise had decorated the box with her messy doodles, she didn’t know what the box would hold. All she knew was it would be special.
The leaf was later joined by many other things:
Notes from class, when the teacher, mom, wasn’t looking.
Tickets to Eloise’s first play.
Pictures of Hazel in her ballet costumes, dancing with joy in her eyes.
Random birthday cards.
Letters from pen pals.
Friendship bracelets they made for each other.
A picture of Hazel in the hospital, smiling weakly.
The last note from Hazel, telling Eloise how much she loved her.
Eloise never thought she’d go to college without telling Hazel she’d got in at her dream school. She hadn’t expected that she’d be packing her things alone. She never would have guessed that her best friend would be gone. But as Eloise gazed into the box of “leaves”, she knew the leave magic was real. It was like, for just a moment, Hazel was hugging her again. Even though she was crying, Eloise felt less pain than she had in a while. It was amazing, the peace of the memories. At that moment, Pain eased and Healing began to prevail.
Leave magic was real. Very real.
(I may use this for a contest. It was very fun to write. What do you think? Do you have a keepsake box? How do you preserve memories?)