This plastic bracelet decorated my left arm for 6.5 years without ever leaving it. In the summer 2006 when I was 19 I made my first trip abroad and came to America to work in a Summer camp as a gardner and cleaner being on a Work and Travel program. I couldn't be part of the games like regular counselors, because I had to clean and water plants. So I would always watch the kids play with certain sadness and jealousy. My English wasn't that good at the time. But this one 12 years old kid with red hair and thoughtful eyes would always ask me how i was doing and what I was doing. Once he invited me to join the bracelet making class he was attending and he made this brown bracelet for me. I was very touched. He screwed up in the end a little and we decided to just melt the ends and leave it on my arm. I told him that I will keep it until I come back to America.
I did the next year. And then again in 2 years. But I didnt want to kill it so I didn't cut it. I just let it live there on my left hand. Most of the time I didnt notice it. But when people asked I like to tell the story. It felt like the more I keep it the more value it has and the more history it keeps. Of course it also kept lots of germs because it was hard to clean. But I didnt care.
The bracelet didnt affect me much. It was almost invisible, unnoticeable. The only times when I was aware of it was when it was hot and my hand wold itch from the sweat, when I would get a little fatter and it would feel too tight and annoy the hell of of me, and when it would leave a stripe of untanned skin in summer. Other than that it was a silent little thing which became a part of me.
It spent 5 years of its life in Taiwan and 1.5 years in Russia. It also traveled to Thailand, South Korea, UK, Philippines, US, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, and Kazakhstan. I think it had a pretty awesome life actually. Possibly the best part of my life.
After about 2000 showers (I shower often but I am pretty sure I skipped some days) on the morning of my birthday on September 1, this year it disconnected from me. The plastic aged and it broke. I started screaming and telling everyone about it. Nobody thought it was a big deal:( But for me it was as if someone was telling that that old chapter is now over and a new chapter is starting.
I posted the news on my Facebook page and tagged that kid (who is now grown up and has just entered Stanford University). Some guy commented: "I make bracelets like these, tell me your address and I will send you a new one". Psh! There is no way I am letting some random new bracelet touch my left hand.