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  • In May 2012, my friend graduated from law school, and she sent out a thank you letter acknowledging those who have helped and supported her along her way.

    I received her letter, although I didn’t feel like I did that much. Included was her business card and a portrait of her in her graduation robe.

    I have the business card somewhere - but that wasn’t too important. It looked professional and sharp, but I already have all of her contact information anyway.

    The card was nice, but I figured it was one of those Christmas card type deals where you open it, read it over, smile, and then set it down. It then mixes with other piles of paper until eventually thrown away.

    The picture is what threw me for a loop. I wasn’t sure what to do with the picture.

    I love photography, but despite having a nice camera, I don’t have many pictures that mean much to me. I have long left Facebook, which was the only remaining online evidence I had any friendships in my life, and with it, any photos I have had with the past that anybody could see also disappeared.

    Everything is online, instantly accessible so immediately forgettable. That is the way the internet turns.

    This is why having a physical photo of someone is so alien to me. I don’t have a physical photo of anybody. Not myself, not my family. Not of anyone.

    I couldn’t throw it away. That would have been just rude, and I like my friend was an important part of my past. For example, of the many things she has taught me, how to cook and feed myself is something I attribute uniquely to her.

    But where could I keep it? I have nothing - no book, no album, no space - where I keep physical photos. I couldn’t just put it down, right? Because I might throw it away in those occasional moments of cleaning zeal.

    Then at the same time, it couldn’t be in a place of prominence, right? She was a friend I had made through a close friend of mine. They were dating all throughout college in what was an enviously cute, loving relationship of which I often found myself to be the third wheel and perhaps even a little jealous.

    For various reasons they went their separate ways, both continuing to be my friends but from a distance, each of us trying to make it in a changing world in different parts of the country. If I put it in a place of prominence, would my other friend get mad at me? But I don’t even have a place of prominence!

    And so I have sort of struck a balance. I place it in various random spots on my bookshelf. Between books, under things, in nooks and crannies, trying to keep it without keeping track of it.

    And every once in awhile as I rummage through looking for books or ideas, she appears, smiling in her robe. I pick up the photo, look at it, and I think about this all over again...
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