To dolphin keychains, freshman year Homecoming tickets, and possibly a Taylor Swift CD


Emma Zawacki

the sunset from my car window last night

In eighth grade, my best friend and I made a time capsule.

It’s an old, blue shoe box that we decorated with construction paper and bright stickers with our handwriting scribbled across the top.

“Do not open till Graduation.”

We filled it with little things that reminded us of our friendship—my best guess as to what’s in the box is a Taylor Swift CD, but I could very possibly be wrong. 

We had big plans to bury it in her backyard as they do in dramatic movies, but it sits on the shelf in my closet, collecting dust on the blue, faded construction paper.

We’re not friends anymore.

And I haven’t opened the box. 

And as sentimental as I was, I’m even more so now.

But I made a similar box my freshman year of high school. 

It’s a leftover gift box from a sibling’s birthday, and it has no writing on it, but it’s also for Graduation. I’m a little more sure of what’s in this box: a string of cheap beads, my Homecoming ticket, and a few photos of my friends and me in various locations that our moms drove us to. 

They’re all things that were important to me then, we’ll see if they’re still important to me now.

May 17th.

That’s when I’ll open both of those boxes.

And I’ll probably cry because that’s simply how I am, and I’ll probably realize how much I owe that girl an apology—and a thank you—for everything that’s ever happened to her. 

And as sentimental as I was, I’m even more so now. I painted my senior year box with pinks, and purples, and blues in a squiggly pattern. 

I’m hoping to fill it to the brim with my memories until I leave. 

It already holds my first paycheck from my journalism job. Submitting that first story terrified me above all else, but now I’ve eased into it. 

It was the first step I had taken towards my career in the field. 

My acceptance letter to Indiana University’s Media School is in the box as well. The school that I applied to first and the school that’s currently my top choice—excited and terrified to put five and a half hours between me and Grand Rapids—I’m wearing my IU shirt as I write this column.

And a blue dolphin—possibly a shark—keychain lays in the box as well. A matching keychain to Nat and Avery that was bought on a whim at Target right after we were told we were going to be Editors together. 

They were originally meant as party favors, but I loved them right from the get-go and thought they were a necessity—this was not the last of my fun-fueled ideas that they’ve put up with since then. 

A 12-pack of keychains was bought and evenly divided between us three as a dorky gift to ourselves. I keep one hooked onto my lanyard with my keys and a second in this box. The third and fourth are who knows where at the current moment.

I’m going to open it after I graduate from college.

After I’ve finished my degree, I’ll sit down and comb through the remnants of myself that will seem so far away. I’ll be 22 and once again about to embark on a new chapter in my life, much like I am now.