I bought a set of papers to make my senbazuru, finally giving up on my misguided dream to make it out of pages from the phone book left on my doorstep when the phone company still thought we used such things. We’ve moved beyond them as a people; I reached for one for the first time in years at 23.30 the other day only to remember that it was in pieces in that overturned recycled-magazine bin in my bedroom, waiting to become the cranes that I always knew they never they never would. My impatient cuts make folding too difficult. Even for something simple, like a crane.

I bought the papers and the internet suggested the small black ceramic cat that Jerine gave me years ago. It doesn’t seem right to call that time “years,” it passing so fast and all. It’s just ‘before.’

I packed the cat away somewhere safe, I think. In one of the duct-taped boxes at the back of my closet. They were full of things I didn’t want to get broken. And I’d only be here for a year, maybe two. If I was lucky.

But now it’s nearly three. And I have a shadow box and a bookshelf and the empty shell has those useless, blurry edges that Collin would have scorned for being so wholly un-utilitarian and that Brian doesn’t understand, but grants me, anyway, because in a way they’re my roots, holding me to this place and time, to sanity.

And that’s an exaggeration, because really they just make me feel normal – male my home look like my mom’s and grandma’s did: full of useless crap that we keep around because it’s old, or someone younger or older than us gave it as a gift or just because it makes the house less empty and seems a testimony. Seems to say that we’re worth something – see our treasures? We aren’t useless.

And there! Maybe that’s the Eureka; their worthlessness takes away our own. We can pour it into them like little flasks to store our spirits and be full only of worth. No matter how little we possess.

So I looked for that cat today. The small perfect black body in an unmarked white box. I tore through those boxes, memories that I had carefully locked away behind silver clattering onto the floor. Pictures of Mommy and Grandma, papers from schools I’ve almost forgotten where I was so alive. They say you can fix anything with enough duct tape, at least temporarily.

I still can’t find the cat. I wonder if I accidentally threw her away. Like I did Piggy. As though I didn’t care.

I miss the past, but not always for the reasons I think I should. I hope I can find her.

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