The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
In the month before I moved away from home and into the city, I saw my pediatrician for the last time. I went in to get a vaccine, was pricked once, slapped with a bandaid and sent on my way. There was barely a hello or goodbye shared between us. Babies were wailing in the waiting room, cradled by their mothers. Toddlers stood on scales to make sure they were growing at the right pace. Parents filled out insurance forms. Nurses rushed around with vials and syringes, boxes of disposable gloves and stacks of pamphlets on how to deal with a child afflicted by mental illness. It seemed like those were flying off the shelves.
I was just some eighteen year old who needed a shot before going off to college. There was no time for my doctor and I to discuss my development. But this woman had watched me grow taller, stronger, sicker, curvier, bonier. And yet she ushered me out of the waiting area and said, “Good luck at school, hun!” before disappearing into a new operating room.
As I left, I felt that I had already entered the future. The present no longer existed. I was being held ahead of my time. Each step through the parking lot was a moment closer to the end.
I’d taken the drive home from the doctor’s office before. I knew where I was going but I didn’t know where I would eventually end up. As my wheels made their way across the pavement, I noticed a familiar blue awning up ahead that read “HIDDEN TREASURES ANTIQUES”. I wasn’t going to stop. I had things to do. But something in me pulled the car into the almost empty lot, grabbed my wallet from the center console and went inside.
We all know what it smelled like. Dust, stale perfume and leather polish. There was too much to take in. Shelves and shelves were put in rows, divided into categories of glassware, clothing, books, purses and clutches, jewelry, license plates, postcards and general chachkis that had no rightful place amongst all of the stuff. Things weren’t necessarily organized as much as they were clumped together in ways that the owner felt was right. I assumed this was who greeted me as I walked in.
“Hello, welcome in,” he said cheerily, sitting behind the counter on a rocking chair, shifting his weight back and forth with a weathered book in his hands. At first, I felt too young to be there. As if I was stealing old things from older people, as if their age meant they were entitled to things from their past. But I was deprived of everything from their past. So I stayed. And I’m quite pleased I did.
I went down each aisle, touching anything and everything. I let the dust stick to my fingertips as I instinctively picked out little things I didn’t need. I cradled them in my arms and held them close. I felt as though I needed them. I couldn’t leave without them.
I needed old things to tie me to the now. I had left my childhood back at the doctor’s office. I had been stuck in the what’s and how’s of the future. But then, in the center of time travel madness, I am being held indefinitely in the present. Cradled between a child crying over a shot and an adult packing their suitcase. I was finally balanced for that short hour I spent perusing the aisles, shaking the dust bunnies that littered the cement floor and listening to Johnny Cash through the outdated speakers. This little antique store between the doctor’s office and home was exactly where I needed to be. A place of solace.
I think this is why we should make use of antiques, thrifts, fixer-uppers. Yes, they are just things. But we need old things to remind us of what has been. It’s almost as if the action of being surrounded by things people left behind, reminds you of how you can move forward, lose things, buy new things, give them away, and still be alright. My point is…pull over, take a moment, breathe in the dust and be where you are.