Treasure boxes

Have you seen the beautiful French film “Amélie” (or “Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain”)? If you have I’m sure you remember the scene where Amélie finds someone’s old box of childhood memorabilia in the bathroom of her flat and decides to do all she can to return this magical thing to its original owner. When Dominique Bretodeau receives this treasure box he cries as the enormous amount of memories starts flowing in.

Do you have such a box? Where you keep these little things that remind you of people or situations from your past?

I do, and not just one! I am a big collector. I hate throwing things away, especially such things that I call the “souvenirs”. These can be anything – a train ticket, an empty candy box, a pack of sugar from a cafe, a clipping from a newspaper, a pebble… Literally anything that I associate with that particular moment I want to remember. To some it might look like I am simply hoarding trash 🙂 In truth, these things are often of little value. Only I know their real worth. They are the remnants of something good that happened to me. My treasure.

Apart from the “trash box” I’ve got one with just postcards and letters I got from friends and family. I’ve got one with travel souvenirs, one with my ex-boyfriends relics (some people like getting rid of them, even burning them, but I don’t concur with this), one that’s called “Lord of the Rings” fan box, one with my old journals and diaries, one with old photo albums (because yes, there were times when the phrase “photo album” meant an actual album with developed photographs)…

My friend Dixie says, “a scent is like an instant time machine”. Opening any of my treasure boxes is my instant time machine. Opening it I smell the scent of the past, of something that is never coming back. This scent is impossible to revive but it can from time to time come back to us unexpectedly anywhere in the world. We may catch a passer-by’s perfume and get reminded of someone important. Or we may just walk past the bakery and smell a freshly baked bread and… suddenly a picture from the past appears before our eyes…

Time travel really is that simple.

One of my most recent (and definitely the most stinky one) treasure “box” is my little backpack which I didn’t unpack since December. Disgusting? Yeah a bit 🙂 I discovered there an old and wrinkly apple I have carried along all the way from London, a torn pack of almonds, which unfortunately means those almonds are scattered everywhere in that backpack and a few London relics such as tube map, my oyster card and a receipt from a sandwich I bought at Victoria. Since the discovery of this treasure, I have removed only the apple… That backpack is now a treasure box.

I would put up a picture too, but… umm… rather not.


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