Excavating the northwest bookcase, I found a heart-shaped box underneath.

I haven’t been near that bookcase in a couple of years. It contains most of my William Blake books, and the rest of my romantic poets collection.

I bought the box for a friend, who was hell-bent to drive to Memphis. He struck out in the middle of an intense ice-storm around midnight, determined not to sleep until he was at the gates of Graceland.

I picked him up at a Waffle House in North Little Rock the next morning. As a Californian, he just didn’t have a clue how bad weather could get.

He never made it to Memphis. He left almost everything he brought with him behind, and took a bus back to California. I gave his car to a guy I worked with, in exchange for hauling it off. He left the heart-shaped box behind, with a child’s drawing and a handmade key chain inside.

After discovering the box under the bookcase, I looked and saw an Edith Piaf CD set that belonged to another friend—a friend from Memphis. She stopped by on her way to visit the Dali Lama in Indiana. There were some CDs of Russian folk music, and some tapes that I really must box up to send back to her.

My friends always seem to leave something behind when they stop by.