I kept trying to think of what boy it was from my childhood that he reminded me of and I went to those Italian meatballs like Mark and David D my favorite boys ever in Ms. Bowe’s class most definitely David my Secret Santa who gave me the one thing I’ve kept in my possession the longest of my life, along with my 4th grade diary, where incidentally that kid's not mentioned once. But his eyes I can see his eyes. I always go back to that. Mark was similar they both had that look David was just short. He was also really sweet and Mark was sweet too but a popular kid so he had an attitude and picked on Chris his sidekick. David didn't have a sidekick, he was labeled as kind of a loser but I always laughed at his jokes and bounced them around with him. He had a lot of life, I think that’s why, he had a ton of energy and was excited by shit, he was a smartass. And I guess he liked me, I don’t know that I understood that. I was supposed to be going out with Mark, the first official couple in the 4th grade, until I dumped him when I remembered boyfriends were lame, sidekick Chris interviewed me with SpyGear strapped to his chest while I reluctantly repeated the prompt "because he's a fucking asshole!" and watched him outside in the bushes hands to ears shaking his head in disbelief, then started wearing my Leave Me Alone t-shirt, and I’d tell David in particular “Leave Me Alone or I’ll Kick Your Own” not because I meant it, but because I knew he’d think it was funny. I distinctly remember the look on his face when I opened that present, when we were all sitting in the circle on the floor in Ms. Bowe’s class, I think Mrs. D’Amico was subbing, it was rumored that Ms. Bowe had a nervous breakdown because we were a notoriously bad class and she wasn’t too stable to begin with so while she had an unknown illness we terrorized subs one after another most the year until she came back at the end and we had to pretend to be nice to her. She looked like Nancy Kerrigan. Also the same year. We yelled WHY ME a lot. Anyway I remember opening this little box and there was a little pin of a Toucan, a grown ass Brooch. At the time it was kind of dumb. I guess, right? I just remember being a little embarrassed. It was jewelry. From a boy. In 4th grade. While he stared at me shyly from across the floor. The memory of that face is so vivid. The gaze of fear and anticipation. I never wore it. I just put it in my jewelry box and it sat there for years. So many fucking years of my costume jewelry dressing up with my girlfriends putting on shows and taking pictures of ourselves, playing every kind of character I could play as I went through my phases in middle school and high school experimenting with art and fashion, this little gold plated or maybe just brass and patina toucan pin never came out. I had so much shit. Come on I love objects and accessories and baubles preferably throw-away cheap and weird it all piles up and when I move either to college or another state or even another apartment I sort through all of it, give bags to friends or sell off to thrift stores, and move right along. Every time I cleaned out my jewelry box, case, armoire, I kept that little toucan pin. I don’t know why, but I could just never part with it, I knew it would be relevant someday, I told myself for fashion. In Minnesota I started going to the antique stores in Hopkins and found that one Jewelry Store Anne and Jacks only open 3 days a week. It was a fucking gold mine. Their prices were insane and I’d just load up on bakelite bangles, brooches, any kind of treasure from those stuffed ziplock bags I’d see the old ladies come in and haggle over with Jack receiving next to nothing for. Good news for me, what am I getting out of the $10 case this week? I bought a silver-backed white and turquoise enamel peacock pin with its fan attached by a hinge so that it could be bent back and forth slightly. Another time I picked up an eagle with spread wings covered in rhinestones. A sparrow here, a raven there, eventually I accumulated quite the collection of bird brooches. I never wore any of them. They just nested in my jewelry case with that Toucan until I moved to Chicago and the antiquing went reserved for barely annual trips back to Minneapolis when it stopped completely a few years ago. I experimented a little with the gorgeous loot I had during my early to mid twenties. I even did manage to wear the Toucan on a gold chain one summer night in 2008, with a black tank top, dark bluejeans, and if I’m not mistaken black and white platform wedge L.A.M.B sneakers. WHAT ELSE would I be wearing in 2008. But as the years went on and my tattoos quickly piled up the color and accessories in my wardrobe started to vanish. So with each spring cleaning more and more bags of jewelry would be gifted to my sister and friends with nothing to replace it until I am now down to one little half empty leather box atop my dresser that I haven’t opened since I moved here 5 months ago. In it there are plenty of plain silver, glass, and bakelite rings which I do wear occasionally, some stud earrings which I don’t, a couple necklaces that were gifts from my mother and grandmother, some costume pearls, rhinestones, various lengths of chain, and my bird brooches, the Toucan included. An easy assumption to make about why people collect things is that they want to recreate the feeling they had when they bought or obtained or received the original item. Obviously nothing is as pure and satisfying as an original spontaneous moment so a true collector will forever be searching for the unattainable piece to complete any set of objects. I wonder if I’ve been. I wanted that Leave Me Alone shirt a couple years ago from my mom. I asked her to rebuy it for me the way she originally felt compelled to when I was such a bitch in the 4th grade. 1994 forever goes down as my favorite year. Favorite year of my existence. I neglect to mention how important that kid was. He wasn’t allowed to be he wasn’t cool. But I liked him. We were like unspoken besties. Everyone ignored it because Mark liked me so much so I was also supposed to be his girl until I called it off and declared I wasn't anybody's girl then started pushing boys to the ground and making them kiss the dirt. What does this have to do with anything. It’s that kid’s face. It’s his eyes. That’s what I’m attracted to. That’s J’s face, it’s A’s. It’s that bartender. God I remember so clearly. When I opened that box. Mrs. D’Amico who loves baubles herself was like OOOOhhhAAAHhh Carrrriiiieeee. I’ve never gotten rid of it. I wore it once when I was 23 and going through a bad jewelry phase. I almost just wrote I Miss Him. Jesus Christ. The boy who told dick jokes, missing dick jokes to be exact, under his breath in music class in 4th grade. Biting off dicks, stealing dicks, obliterating them all together. All while looking at me with those adoring shy eyes. Who would be a better first love. I wonder how he’s doing these days. I wonder who’s stealing his dick now. I hope he's loving it. I hope he's taken care of. I hope he has everything he deserves. He deserves to have everything. He certainly gave plenty to me.