Emmie just nodded, bent down, and picked it up. I thought she was going to give it back to me for some reason and I couldn't imagine why, but instead her hand disappeared into her bag and when it came out the glass was gone. Emmie wore her bag like a piece of clothing. It wasn’t something she carried, it wasn’t an accessory. It was just part of her, always hanging from her shoulder, always against her hip. I’d forget it was there until she pulled something out of it or put something in. Somehow Emmie managed to find whatever she needed without looking, without rummaging around like most girls did, digging for lipstick or gum or a pen in their purse. Emmie just slipped a hand in and pulled it out holding whatever she needed.
I looked at her expectantly, wondering why she’d decided the piece of broken glass was worth keeping, especially considering where it had come from. It wasn’t a memory I wanted to hold onto . I also wondered how long it would be before Emmie reached into her bag for something and cut herself on the glass. Emmie just shrugged.
“There’s a weight to it, Bets. I can feel it in you. There’s a weight to the day, to what happened.” Then she patted her bag and said it again, like she wanted to make sure I understood. “There’s a weight to it.” There was a long pause, like Emmie was sifting her thoughts. “That weight doesn’t go away just by throwing away the memory. Trying to do that just makes it heavier.”
And that was it. She didn’t need to explain herself. I knew what she meant. After all, I rode a bus home from San Francisco wearing a bloody t-shirt and jeans because I understood that the event they were attached to had an importance I had to sort through, a significance that couldn’t be washed away by a simple change of clothes. So I got what Emmie was telling me, even though I still wanted to grab the piece of glass and throw it as far away from me as I could.
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