Today, my Robotics team moved out of the building we’ve met in since our infancy into a new, larger space. In fact, we also held an Open House on the same day. I was out of my home from 8:30 AM to 9:30 PM. It was a humongous day.
I’m the only remaining member who’s been around since year one. I remember the first time I walked into that building. I sat at a table in the middle of the room. The place was nearly empty. Along the walls, there were giant pieces of paper stuck, complete with scribbles. The members were doing some kind of exercise, but I knew that I wanted to be there.
Over the years, we’ve accumulated a lot of junk. Never been quite so immaculate as that first year. Until today.
I remember when he joined the team; one of two members still remaining from year two. I went to school with him, and I was terrified to approach him and ask his name. Four years of friendship has taken care of that problem.
His first year, we went around and labeled everything in the building that belonged to us. All we needed was a label-maker and sufficient tape. Those labels lasted a long while. Today, as we were marking our territory, things had changed. We no longer have the label-maker. Yet, there he went, printing out signs and posting them with blue tape. I took a few moments to help him. I guess some things never do change.
I got kind of choked up today, as I turned off the lights. Nobody else was. Everyone was happy to be out of that basement space; the regulations and peeling paint. All I could see were the memories I’d had there.
The time that Justin ran backwards down the hall with his glass of tea. Chuck’s coffee cup. Cutting wood in the hallway, and scaring someone with my odd questions. Sitting in the windowsills. The bag of bag of bag of bags. Tripping over a vacuum cord and almost doing a face-plant into the carpet. Pulling out one final chair, and releasing the rest to clatter onto the floor. Labeling tools for hours with duct tape; strategy meetings in the kitchen; silly pictures of drinking hot chocolate. Scouting game shows and improvising with chairs. Sharpie massages, birthday cakes, pounding the bubbles out of a plastic mold set. Karen’s preference for PB&J to a hot meal.
My friend, dancing on a picnic table. Chasing the ducks by the hatchery. Testing our shooters in the yard, while little boys scurried to gather the fallen frisbees. Patrick throwing a ball at my head. Pictures while eating, laughing while eating, sitting together while eating. A little boy’s bet of a Kindle to the winner of an arm-wrestling match. Strategy lessons, reading in the fireplace, trying to sew together our bumpers. Our hushed conversation in the place where the chairs sit. Pizza deliveries; kick-off day buzz; the ring of the doors when they were left open. Standing outside in the bitter cold, while Jared wore his shorts. Pounding on the door to be let in; keys knocking on the windows.
Following my friend for a job to help clean up. Our squirrels, Crook and Nanny, who chased each other around the tree. His promise for the functionality; Josiah’s hiding from the camera; naming everything we ever saw, including Oscar the Spork (who was actually a spoon). Trying not to cry in the bathroom. Vacuuming and vacuuming up sawdust, hoping to keep things clean for only a minute. Our first fight; him cutting in the hallway; my cousin throwing a frisbee just to spite me. Writing notes and notes for meeting after meeting. When she accidentally hit the light-switch and created the perfect lair lighting for filming. Writing stories and articles in the corners of dark rooms. Being hushed; ironing fabric; rewriting lyrics for questionable songs that we didn’t want in our heads. Sitting on the steps, sharing cookies. Silly conversations about boys and dances. Rolling my eyes equally with and at my friend. Vader the puppy and Sable the puppy. Captain Safety scripts in the hallway.
So much of me and my friends are invested in that building. While I’m thankful for new space, I still hurt. The new is exciting, but the old is special.