October 11, 2000
I, Lillee Indymin, sat at my school desk, jiggling my leg up and down. Five minutes left and I would be free for the weekend. Mrs. Donnel droned on and on.
“And accountable talk is when you use sentence starters. Can anyone tell me one sentence starter?” She expected twenty hands to raise, but all Mrs. Donnel got was twenty groans.
Fortunately, at that moment the bell rang. There was a rush of chairs slamming into tables, people whooping and hollering, and running feet. I joined everyone else, running to my locker. After opening it, throwing my stuff in, grabbing my bag, and slamming my locker closed again, I raced down the stairs to catch the bus.
I climbed on, then went all the way to the back and plopped down next to Lois, my best friend. She smiled and I grinned back.
“Are you excited yet?” I sat my bag down on the floor and sat back up.
“We’re making a time capsule. Of course, I’m excited!” A couple of kids stared at Lois as she raised her voice, but we ignored them.
“Me, too! I already made a list of everything that I want to put in there. One of the things being a one-dollar-bill. I mean, who knows how much it’ll be worth when our box gets opened again?!” Bending down again, I rummaged through my bag until I was able to pull out a lined piece of paper with a whole bunch of words and phrases scribbled on it. I handed it to Lois and she skimmed it over.
“Looks good. But why exactly do we need to put a paper clip in the capsule? I don’t think those are going to change much.” Lois returned the paper and I stuffed it back in my bag, shrugging.
“Well, what if paper clips end up not being made anymore? Maybe paper clips will be super valuable when the box gets opened.” The bus stopped, and I realized it was my stop. Well, and Lois’s since she was my neighbor. The two of us got up from our seat and rushed to the front of the bus. With a quick “Thanks!” to the bus driver, we were racing towards my backyard where my treehouse was.
“After you.” I bowed low and gestured towards the ladder that led up to the door of my treehouse. Lois curtsied, then began to climb up the ladder. I went up after her.
“Wow! You went all out for Halloween decor this year!” Lois looked around in awe at all of the pumpkins, ghosts, “Boo!” signs, and Hocus Pocus knick-knacks. I just shrugged again and fell onto my purple bean-bag.
“It’s nothin’ much. I mean, you saw the front of my house. It’s just a whole bunch of skeletons, ghosts, spiders, and everything else. You know my mom is crazy about this kind of stuff.” My limbs were sprawled all across the bean-bag and Lois still just stared all around.
“Okay, we have to start getting that time capsule ready. I already have the shoebox and paint. We just have to paint the box. Here are some brushes.” With half of my body still on the bean-bag, I reached onto my bookshelf and grabbed a shoebox. This would be our time capsule. I opened it and handed Lois a couple of paintbrushes from inside.
“Thanks. What colors of paint do you have?” Lois brushed the hairs of the brush on her hand back and forth.
“Right here.” Again rummaging through the box, I handed her orange, red, yellow, black, and white paint tubes. “I thought that we could do like a sunset, or maybe Halloween colors. I don’t know.”
A half-hour later, Lois and I were sitting back on the balls of our feet, looking at the sunset-painted shoebox sitting in front of us. It was pretty decent--of course, it could be better, anything could be, but it still looked good.
“Good job.” Lois raised her hand to high-five me, but looked at all of the paint on my hand and decided otherwise. Of course, I immediately started to chase Lois around the treehouse with my painted hand. Lois was shrieking, but I was just laughing my butt off.
“Okay. Okay! I’ll high-five you if you just stop!” My best friend had turned around and was looking at me with her hands raised. After laughing one more time, I lowered my hand. Then brought it back up to high-five Lois. She immediately grabbed a paper towel and wiped her hand off.
“Alright, let’s go find some stuff to put in it. I have my old phone, some teddy bears from when I was little, and my pup’s old toy. How ‘bout you?” I headed towards the door to start going back down the ladder.
“Oh, just a couple of small things. I’m going to put in a two-dollar bill since they’re so rare, a fifty-cent coin since they’re rare, too, and then just some old toys of mine.” As I started down the ladder, Lois followed down after me. The two of us jumped down onto the dirt, then ran to our separate houses to get our things.
All of the small items were in the shoebox, and now my best friend and I were both carrying shovels looking for a good spot to bury the box. At first, we thought about putting it in the woods, but nobody would find it then. So after circling my yard about ten times, we finally decided to bury it right in the center. Lois sat the time capsule down and we both put our shovel into the ground with a satisfying slide.
For ten minutes, we just stood there but bending down every time we scooped dirt out of the ground. After those tiring ten minutes, Lois and I sat the shoebox down in the hole together. We piled the dirt back on top of it and patted the ground. Lois high-fived me without hesitating this time.
“Alright. Let’s head back inside and study for that stupid test on Friday. But this was awesome.”
“For sure. Vamonos!”
July 5, 2030
“Be careful with that shovel!” I watched my son Lois run out the back screen door with a shovel. For weeks, he had asked me if he could make a time capsule and bury it in our yard. The first time he said it, I immediately said no. It would be too much pain. My best friend and I had done that so long ago. Lois doing it would bring back memories - the good and the bad.
But, Lois had been very persistent and stubborn, so I finally said that he could do it. Oh, eleven-year-old boys.
I walked over to the sink and started to wash the dishes as I still watched Lois through the window. He was running around, trying to find a good spot. Once, twice, three times… twenty times he ran around that yard until he stopped in the center. He put that shovel into the ground, and for a reason I didn’t know at that moment, a warning went flashing red in my head.
When I finished the dishes, Lois was still digging. So when he stopped suddenly and a confused look spread across his face. This spiked my interest and I moved my face closer to the window to get a better look.
He bent down and seemed to struggle to pull something out of the ground. And that’s when I realized what he had found. After a minute of struggling, Lois brought a sunset-painted shoebox out of the ground. My assumption was correct. In that exact spot, my best friend Lois and I had buried our time capsule so long ago. Now Lois was holding it in his hands, brushing the dirt off of it, his face still confused.
“Lois! Wait, kiddo!” I raced from the kitchen, out the screen door, straight to Lois in the center of the yard. Immediately grabbing the box from him (maybe a little bit too harshly), tears rolled down my face.
“Mom? What’s wrong?” Lois looked at me with a look of astonishment, replacing the confusion. He had quite honestly never seen me cry before.
“Just-just come with me.” We walked back inside and plopped down on the couch. I dried most of my tears, sat the box down on the coffee table, and grabbed both of Lois’s hands.
“Lois, do you remember my best friend that I told you about?”
“The one that COVID-19 killed?”
Way to put it lightly.
“Umm...Yeah. When we were just a year older than you, we painted this box, put some stuff in it, and buried it right where you found it. It has been there since then. Thirty years ago. Do you want to see what’s inside?” Of course, I knew exactly what was inside, but I still wanted to see it. Lois nodded silently, and I released his hands to open the top of the box. My son instinctively went to grab the old phone, but then pulled his hand back when he saw the pained look on my face.
“No, no. It’s okay, bud. Go ahead.” I smiled a half-hearted smile. He went to grab it again, but slower this time. When the phone was in his hands, his face was caught between being excited that he had more parts for the computer he was building, and still being upset for me. Lois’s face finally decided - he dropped the phone and reached over, giving me a hug.
“It’s okay, Mom. She’s still with you. She's still with us."