I believe in crayons.
When I was little, I walked to the Dollar Store with my mom and found a box of 64 crayons for 99 cents. The rows of brand new, perfectly rounded edges enticed me; the box even had a pre-installed crayon sharpener!
I showed them to my mom, who rolled her eyes and said they wouldn’t be good quality because they were from the Dollar Store. And didn’t I have enough markers already? But I insisted that crayons were different from markers. And they were only 99 cents, crayon sharpener included. So I left the store skipping contentedly with a plastic bag swinging by my side, knocking against my knees.
I can still picture the walk home. It was late afternoon, and the orangey-gold sun streaked through the trees, making dappled patterns on the ground. The bare sidewalk was swirling with red and brown leaves. I was wearing my velcro Pokemon sneakers. My mom was walking calmly beside me, her smooth, dark face illuminated by the sun. We chatted and laughed all the way home.
A couple weeks later, my mom’s doctor announced that she had plantar faciatus. The muscles in her feet were inflamed. That meant no more long walks, and that she shouldn’t stand for long periods of time. I was sad because we couldn’t walk downtown anymore. I knew I wouldn’t get new crayons any time soon.
Eight years have passed. My mom’s plantar faciatus is better now, after years of stretching. We still don’t take long walks, but we ride bikes. It’s not quite the same, though. We can’t ride side by side when there’s traffic, and we have to worry about locking up whenever we go into a store.
A week ago when I was cleaning out my desk, I found a picture I had drawn the day we got back from the Dollar Store. The clouds were big, uneven swirls, and the bird in the corner was a messy V. But the things that really caught my eye were the people in the middle of the page, seeming to float in the sky. We were both girl stick figures, the kind with the triangle skirts. Our hair was unnaturally long and flipped at the end, and we both had blue eyes and huge smiles on our faces. We were holding hands.
I believe in the memories crayons evoke. Whenever I look at the stick-figure picture of my mom and I, I am reminded of that walk through the golden sunlight. I re-experience the joy of skipping at my mom’s side, and the feeling of opening the crayon box for the first time when I get home. I believe in crayon memories because seeing the picture I created reminds me to be my best self and appreciate what I am doing at the minute, because in a few years I might look back fondly at that moment, wishing I had treasured it when I had it.