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When I was in Virginia

I had this secret place in my neighbor's backyard. They hadn't cleared most of it, and what remained was a wonderful, tangled forest - uninteresting for adults and hours of fun for kids. Along with the boys next door, I had created a small clearing, completed with a few logs for seats (there were fewer logs than there were in our group, but you can bet I never sat on the ground).

We would keep secret things here from time to time - a praying mantis in a jar, a candle and some matches, candy, etc. But there was something there that my friends didn't know about, something I wouldn't share even with them. Behind where our seats were arranged there was a box, disguised by leaves and scratched into the soil. It was mine - my secret box in my secret place. It was mine more than anything else - I consulted no one else about its contents, showed them to no one. Even if someone else had found it, they would have been nonplussed - odds and ends, broken dirty things, sad lonely orphaned things. Small pieces of wholes.

I haven't been there in a long time. The box is there, forgotten by those who pass over it, cobwebbed and dusty, hinges rusting. Holes appear and grow; slowly.

But I'll never forget. It's there for me still.

I'll never forget.