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My father, the hoarder

I have a box where I keep all of the holiday and birthday and just-because cards that my friends and family send me. They are memories, tokens of love and thoughtfulness, and there is a part of me that can’t bear to throw them out.

I don’t need these cards. I hardly ever open that box, and so they don’t add anything to my life, but there is a part of me that thinks that maybe, just maybe, one day I will need to remember the moments and people they represent.

This is as close as I can come to understanding the way my father thinks. He loves paper and pens and radios and things that are broken and things that are cheap and things that remind him of things that he once liked and things that remind him of me and of things that I once liked — in that same can’t-bear-to-let-it-go way I feel about those cards. He sees a thousand tangential futures for a broken radio, articles he has yet to read in a nine-year-old issue of the New York Times, and one specific memory for that glittery purple pencil he writes notes in his planner with. He used a similarly purple pencil that one time I came home crying from school because I couldn’t write a lowercase A. I sat on his lap and we spent what felt like hours writing little Os with tails until I finally mastered the art of the a.

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