Rainbow Pens and Autograph Books

A chalk rainbow drawn on the pavement


Wilson Phillips’ "Hold On" was my anthem for the longest time because of the film Bridesmaids. The kind of uninhibited camaraderie between the women, especially Annie and Lilian, reminded me of the '90s; friendship bracelets, plastic trinkets and autograph books declaring who your gold, silver, and bronze friends were. Neat packets of rainbow pens circulating around so that there was never a dull entry. My favourite pen was the one with silver ink that could be rubbed off to create a most-desired two-tone effect. Being left-handed, it meant that the sides of my palm were perpetually silver coated.

I didn’t know what a horoscope was. Flipping through the entries of fellow classmates, I decided that I must be a Leo, because many of them were. I also thought that poems were a necessary tradition, so I copied the one that made the most sense in every book I signed: True friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False friends are like autumn leaves, scattered everywhere. I now find autumn leaves to be more precious than diamonds, but that doesn’t really change the spirit of our little hearts back then.

Much has changed since, and I wish I’d kept those autograph books and their glittery messages, full of friendship and eagerness for a brand new year. They are simple things, but sometimes that’s all the reminder you need.

Not for money,
Not for fame,
Just for you,
I sign my name.

wei lin

(From January 11, 2021)

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