After eight years, I’ve lost most of my collection, as well as some of the people and places I associate so closely with certain parts of it. I have no idea what Sonja’s life is like now. I think Chris might be going to law school, but maybe not. People, like T-shirts, are often ephemeral, but you know what isn’t? That feeling I got when I wrote that first black valentine on my wall, or when I stared up at a poster, swelling with misplaced love, in a different, unfamiliar bedroom, or when I screamed the words to “Jeane” at Sway and threw my hair around, or when I held hands with Morrissey and then tripped off his stage into other pairs of outstretched arms when I was 16, clumsy and shy, which is the refrain of one of the Smiths’ best-loved songs, “Half a Person”: “And if you have five seconds to spare / Then I’ll tell you the story of my life / Sixteen, clumsy, and shy / That’s the story of my life.” It was my story, too, in a way, that I’d only just started cataloguing.

Although I’m no longer as mouth-frothingly devoted (in related news, I’m a little bit older), I recognize the same feelings of belonging and nostalgia every time I count five seconds out on my fingers while I sing along with those words, just to see if it really did take that long to summarize my life story, if Morrissey’s still keeping his promise. He always is. ♦

Amy Rose Spiegel is a writer and student living in Brooklyn. Her interests include the Replacements, Rodarte, Roland Barthes and alliteration. This is our first submission sent in by a reader. We love it so much.

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