My Little Pink Eraser
Lilly Chattin

I bite my lip and look at the clock. Two minutes left. I have to finish the test. I grab my eraser and frantically rub out my last response. Writing as quickly as I can, I finish the last question with mere seconds to spare. I sigh in relief and turn it in. When I sit down again, I start to sweep the eraser shavings off of my desk. The bright pink of my eraser catches my eye.
I pick it up with a soft smile. This eraser has brought me through many mistakes. It’s small, but it still works. It has a hole poked through the middle from when I stabbed it with a pencil in 4th grade. I rub its smooth, soft edges. Looking at it, I can still imagine it at its full size as it was eleven years ago when I was in 1st grade.
My mom got it for me with my school supplies that year, but I really didn’t use it all that much. It was there though. It was there as I learned my letters, and it was there when I learned cursive too. It was there when I wrote that stupid essay about pufferfish. It was there when I was struggling to do at-home schooling during the pandemic. It was there when I wrote in my diary that I got baptized, or that my dad was sick, or that I had my first crush, or even that I was unsure about my future. It was there when I cried over my pre-cal homework, and it was there when I figured it out. It was there for a long time, and I look at it now and wonder how it’s still with me.
I lost it three times over the years, and I forgot about it entirely each time. But every time I lost it, I found it again. Now, as I rub my thumb against it, I realize it’s more valuable to me because of those losses.
Eleven years ago, I had it in my hand when I walked into that classroom with a too-big backpack and a too-big knot of butterflies in my stomach.
Two years later, I had it when I sat alone doodling at the playground, a pit of loneliness filling my stomach until a friendly girl asked me to play kickball with her.
Three years after that, it was with me when I had to write all those essays about Steve Jobs. I had it during the pandemic when I wrote notes to my friends and left them on their desks during the alternating distance learning days.
The next two years, I had it when we drew goofy drawings, when I wrote down brain sparks for that book that never went anywhere, and when we defined every single vocabulary word in that science book throughout each year.
I had it the next summer when I finally finished writing my own novel, which I loved, but never tried to publish.
Two years after that, I had it when I had to relearn my handwriting because the chemistry teacher wanted it perfect, when the Spanish project was due that day and I wasn’t quite finished, and when I couldn’t recall the formula for the circumference of a circle during that geometry test that I failed.
And finally, it’s still with me now that I’m a senior. Growing up, but still young and unsure. When there are so many options and choices to make, and never any certainty when I finally decide. When I drive past our town’s university and wonder if I can really make it to something bigger. When I fill out those applications for jobs and schools, and never once know which decision is the best one.
Every year, that eraser got a little smaller, and I got a little taller. It shrunk as I grew, and it’s a bittersweet thing that it won’t last until I’m grown.
So, I sit here at my desk and my heart swells with sorrow because this small thing won’t last forever. As I’ve grown, I’ve gained some friends and lost some friends, and this is almost like that. This small thing that has been with me all this time is something I’ll have to let go of as I step into the wider world with another backpack on my back and another knot of butterflies in my stomach.
But this time, I won’t be holding my parents’ hands when I cross the street or standing on my tiptoes to reach the bathroom sink. I’ve grown and changed. It’s something I couldn’t have done without making mistakes, but with my little pink eraser by my side, waiting to offer itself to gentle corrections, I learned from those mistakes, and I grew into who I am today.

Lilly Chattin