The Contents of The Jar

by The Cowl Editor on February 8, 2018


Mason Jar
Photo courtesy of

by Marelle Hipolito ’21


There’s a jar in your room. It’s on your shelf, by the window. I hid it behind a few books, the ones that you kept only as decoration. I knew you wouldn’t think of giving them a second glance, so I kept the jar there. It’s on the far left. Do you see it now? It’s a clear jar, but you can’t see what’s inside because of the confetti. It has a silver top on it. If you pick it up, you might hear clinks from the things inside moving around. And now, you’re wondering what’s making those clinks. Well, open it up.

If you shake the contents out of the jar, you’ll find a keychain, a necklace, an earring. Just in case you don’t remember what any of these objects are, and what they mean, let me remind you.

For Halloween, we went to the arcade and ended up with buckets of tickets. We were about to pick a prize when you saw a little girl crying, since the prize she wanted cost many more tickets than what she had. You looked at me, and I already knew what you were thinking. After getting the little girl the crown she wanted, we traded in the last 10 tickets for a keychain, with a tiny red seven ball on the end. We let it sit on the bedside drawer, as a reminder of that night. But to me, it was a reminder of your kind heart.

That Christmas, you and your family went to Hawaii. When you came back and were about to give me my souvenir, I joked about it probably being a corny, stereotypical surfer necklace. You paused for a moment, then pulled out a surfer necklace and quietly gave it to me. I put it on the drawer alongside the keychain in hopes that you’d see that I appreciated it, but you were still sad and annoyed at me. We didn’t talk much for a few days after, until the basketball game, which, coincidentally enough, brings us to the earring.

Although you were still bitter about the necklace, you still came with me to my little sister’s championship basketball game. It was a close game but they won, and you were going to take me and my sister out to celebrate, until some drunk in the parking lot made a very derogatory remark about my sister as we walked by. Of course, as the hothead I am, I turned to you and said, “Hold my earrings.” And you did. You let me get a punch in, but when the guy was about to hit me back, you beat him to it. Then you, me, and my sister hauled ass into the car and left the parking lot before any cops came. As we were driving away, I asked you for my earrings back. You opened your hand, to show only one earring. We figured that the other one got lost when you punched the guy and decided not to head back for it. Even though I couldn’t really wear the earring anymore, I kept it on the bedside drawer, along with the keychain and necklace. It reminded me that you wanted me to fight my own battles, but also that you would fight them alongside me.

That February, you were offered a position as a sportswriter, your dream job since you were a little kid. We threw a huge house party, celebrating your dreams coming true.  When we were cleaning up the confetti, you told me to not throw away all the confetti, but instead to keep it, for my party, for when I got my dream job as an archaeologist. I laughed, knowing it was a one-in-a-million chance. But I listened to what you said and put all the confetti in one bag, except for a handful, which I put in the mason jar. It was that night, when you pushed me to follow my own dreams, that I knew that I would love you forever.

Five months later, I was waiting for you to come home one night when I got a call. It was the vice president of the internship I had applied for, a three-year archaeological dig program in Greece. He was calling to congratulate me on my acceptance, on my dream coming true.

When I heard your keys in the door and you walk inside, I ran down the stairs and told you. Your reaction to the best news of my life…I’ll never forget it.

You didn’t hug me or say congratulations.

You didn’t smile or jump up and down, telling me that you knew I could do it, that I would have my dreams come true.

Instead, you quietly said, “But, I’m here. Our life is here. You can’t just leave.”

After all the love you gave me, all the beautiful moments and memories, I never would’ve thought that I would say, “But who would I be if I stayed?”

Looking back on it now, Jackson, I don’t regret leaving. Greece is a beautiful place, with beautiful sites and people. I’m growing to become the person I’ve always wanted become, and the person you’ve pushed me to be. Right now, my life is almost perfect. Almost.

I wish I could say that I wanted you to be here with me right now, but I don’t. I want you to keep following your dreams and become the great sportswriter you are meant to be. I hope one morning, I’ll read the newspaper on my way to an excavation site and see your name in the sports section. The way I see it, Jackson, we didn’t have a sad ending. Things didn’t go wrong, or bad. We just never finished our love story. It’s just there, hidden, unchanging unlike the rest of the world. You and me, we’re the contents of that jar.

Do me a favor. Put the keychain, the necklace, and the earring back in the jar with the confetti. Twist the silver cover back on top, and hide the jar back behind those three books you’re never going to read, on the far left of your shelf by the window. Keep it there.

And never open it again.