Dear Beloved Yellow Backpack,

I can’t believe this terrible phone-photo is the only one I took of you, but I can’t seem to find another version anywhere. So, Beloved Yellow Backpack, this is how I guess I will remember you.

Good thing I’ll always have my memories. And what memories they are.

I bought you from the North Face store at the beginning of sophomore year. You were bright and shiny then, the brightest thing I owned. I was enamored of your pen slots and many pockets, and I carried you to the Cherry Hills for my lifeguard shifts during those few weeks when school and summer overlapped and I was one of two lifeguards who could still work the day shift.

You could fit so many books. You and Purple Bike were the essential components of Saturday Library Morning. Even when you both turned on me, taking advantage of my no-hands-riding skills to swerve suddenly, pitch me over the handlebars, and drive my chin into the ground with the weight of your library load, I loved you. I never washed the bloodstain out of your corner, and I kept taking you to the library.

Saturday Library Mornings weren’t even by far the heaviest loads you carried. Remember Scotland? I strapped all manner of camera bags and water bottles to you and you managed to still appear like a single, manageable carry-on bag. When I wrote my senior thesis you carried load after load to and from Aubrey until I wised up and got a library locker. Sorry it took me so long, but you were just so determined, strong and bright!

Even when one or several pens exploded in one of your fancy pen pockets and got huge splatters of ink all over you, you were still so, so yellow and bright. I think the ink gave you character, tattoos if you will, and I’m pretty sure you agreed since you wore the ink so well.

There were those few years that I put you aside and carried fancier or more adult bags. But I always knew you were waiting, Beloved Yellow Backpack, and when my Timbuk2 couldn’t handle a grad-school-sized library load I knew just where to turn.

You were especially nice to carry on BC’s campus, your ink-loved, worn yellowness a beacon amid the horridly neutral Longchamps bags of the undergrads. I especially liked wearing you to class, pulling all my teaching materials from your many pockets, while my students, I’m sure, quietly hoped that someday they too could be cool enough to wear something as bright and obviously loved as you.

And you were and are loved, Yellow Backpack. Please never doubt that. I know it might not seem that way, I might seem callous or cruel for putting you in that box with the crew jackets I don’t wear anymore and the coffee-stained t-shirts and dropping you off at the Big Brother drop-off site. I guess I can only say that you’ve been my trusty sidekick for so long, I want someone else to also experience trusty sidekick-ness, and there’s no one better for that job than a Trusty Yellow Backpack.

I dropped off another load a few hours later, Yellow Backpack, and you were gone. I know someone came by the pile, saw you lying there, and did a crazy double fistpump/happy dance. I know you’re carrying new loads now (hopefully you’re getting a break from books) and I hope you’re the sidekick for a kid you can spend a lot of years with. You definitely have a lot of years to give.

Fare thee well, Beloved Yellow Backpack! And thanks. For everything.