Friday, November 25, 2011

Something I've Lost

"Really, Gina?" Chris said, interrupting our club meeting to call me out on the two-liter Sprite bottle I had just pulled from my purse and began drinking.

I'd had a huge crush on Chris Smith since freshman year, and this was the most he had spoken to me yet. And it was about my two-liter Sprite bottle.

"Oh,  it's not Sprite, it's filled with water," I said nonchalantly, raising the bottle to my lips and motioning to Peter, our leader, to continue with the meeting.

"Still," Chris replied, still looking at me without blinking, unphased.

The Sprite bottle was a last resort...

When I was in high school, my mom splurged on a twenty-dollar Sigg, an aluminum, twenty-ounce bottle with an Indian-looking pattern on the exterior. As I carried my Sigg around for the next two years, people complimented its chic, cerulean and navy print. It was by my side as I spent the summer of 2009 wandering through the Bronx, interviewing squatters and hopeful politicians alike for a non-profit newspaper in Norwood. Every morning, I filled it up before my commute, popping in as many narrow, cylindrical ice cubes as I could fit without the water pouring over the bottle's edge. I would refill it in the office during the day in order to stay hydrated. One day, on a record temperature high for the summer, I ran out of water when I walked from Norwood to Fordham and back. I came home that night with flushed cheeks and a blazing headache, my water bottle dry. It was unable to offer me redemption, but it was by my side nonetheless.

But the good times can only roll on for so long. Eventually, the bottle's interior rusted and I had to upgrade, buying two smaller non-Sigg steel bottles with solid exteriors. They didn't last long, as they made my water taste like, well, steel. I vowed not to spend any more money on bottles after that, trusting the transparent-green auspices of an ordinary Sprite bottle instead. But when Chris Smith called me out on it, I was forced to reconsider.

Having already hurt my chances at a relationship with Chris, I couldn't help but wonder what other opportunities my trusty Sprite bottle might destroy. Would my teachers take me less seriously after seeing the twenty-ounce piece of plastic on my desk each class? Surely, the bottle wasn't good enough to accompany me out to bars or, worse, to potential job interviews. Unsurprisingly, my mom sympathized with my concerns. Out of equal parts generosity and shame at imagining her daughter walking around campus drinking out of a near-moldy bottle, my mom bought me a reusable bottle, red and plastic this time.

It was perfect. For over a month, the bottle went everywhere I did: gym workouts, classes, club meetings, my on-campus job. I even took it to the cafeteria, deeming the usual blue-plastic cups unworthy of my lips. Needless to say, when my new bottle disappeared mid-October, I took it hard. For days, I anticipated its return, stalking down my dorm's cleaning crew and diligently checking the lounges each night to no avail. Nothing. My red water bottle had escaped from my grip, never to return again.

I swore off reusable water bottles, really meaning it this time. I went to the Millenium Grill and bought the largest bottle of water they sell: a one-liter bottle of Smart Water. It's more appropriate, I figured, since Smart Water is not just a socially-acceptable but a prestigious brand here in New York City. And, unlike Sprite, there's supposed to be water in its bottles.

As I'd expected, the Smart Water bottle has been great. There are these cute illustrations of crabs and clouds on the inside of the bottle that become enlarged when the bottle is filled. When I get confused about where my water is coming from, I can visit glaceau's nifty website that explains the hydration process through user-friendly animations. Overall, drinking from it is a joy. But my red bottle hasn't yet slipped out of my heart. Once so loyal and only within an arm's reach, its suave plastic is now lost forever.

I've lost many things in life: love, trust, dreams, hope, and countless socks all rank pretty high on the list. But the one thing that still stings my heart is the thing that I can never, will never, regain. The priceless, beloved bottle that forever lives on, if only in my heart.

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