I keep my treasure in a small wooden box on a table in my bedroom. The box is intricately carved on top … made in Malaysia or Thailand … someplace where they still make things by hand. I keep the box next to pictures of loved ones that have gone on to live with the eternal warmth of the sun and the black night, The box gets dusted every week. I make sure it’s arranged optimally on the table so that visitors can see it, inspect its contents.
Inside the box is a curl of brown hair, taken from my nephew when he was just nine months old. For something that’s been shut up in a box for the past 17 years, it’s still remarkably tinged with light, as if he, sitting in the backyard in the brilliant July sun had only yesterday had his hair cut.
I keep his hair because it reminds me of sweet days holding him in my arms, playing ball and living in moments shared by just the two of us. It reminds me of the look on his face, when he’d gaze up at me — waiting anxiously for the next words to come out of my mouth.
When I pick up that curl, hold it between my fingers, it reminds me how it feels to be loved … unconditionally.