I've always been someone who gets attached to objects, sometimes overly so. I've carted boxes of books, trinkets and furniture across the country in a minivan, packed so tights that my cats were stacked in their carriers in between the front seats. I hold onto things I no longer need because I can still remember the moment when those things were new - it's hard for me to view it as junk.
One of the things I dragged with me on my move from Florida was a delicate little glass vase, filled with smooth white stones and a small posy of fake lavender. Sometimes the lavender gets replaced with a real flower, but even when I don't have fresh flowers in the house that dainty little vase brightens it up.
It's probably not really anything special to look at for anyone but me, but I love that vase. I got it in Germany during my graduation trip with my dad to the World Cup. It was a once in a lifetime trip and I was excited and pretty pleased with myself for being there. I had just gotten my first job, right out of school, in a company I had been interning for and I was feeling optimistic and happy about my future and my present. Walking along sightseeing I saw it displayed in the glass front of a store, along with other colorful housewares and glass jewelry. It looked so sweet and fresh that I went in and bought it, stones, fake flowers and all. I wanted it immediately, even though packing a delicate glass vase into a suitcase already crammed full isn't either easy or practical. It's made it across an ocean and later across a country. I wanted to be the kind of person that had those kind of things; to be just as sweet and fresh and clean as that vase looked to me.
This morning I was rocketed out of bed by the sound of breaking glass. One of my cats, who loves to touch everything with her paws and takes advantage of night time to go where she shouldn't, had knocked it off the shelf it was resting on. The vase was shattered and the pretty river rocks were scattered across my floor.
It was just a vase. But still, looking at those pieces of glass, which reminded me of the shiny bright store in Germany when my future looked at that moment just as shiny and bright, I couldn't help but cry. It was just a vase but I loved that vase and the hope I was feeling when I bought it.
I think that hope will come again. I'm not meant to be a waitress for life; I know that. And I am doing other things now, things that will hopefully build a scaffolding to future paid work. I've got a college degree and have always been praised for being "a smart girl." And not just from my mother, though she led the chorus. There is more waiting for me out there once I get past the rough patch right now - in fact things are already getting busier and I think (!!) that they might be better soon. But still, right now in this moment I don't feel like I did when I was right out of school, a job under my belt, traveling in Europe. And looking at the pieces of that vase made me feel for that moment the chasm separating when I felt then and how I feel now.