for the time being

Holding on to something for someone until we see them again can be considered an expression of friendship. It's as though we're saying that although we're not fully sure that we'll be seeing you again, the fact that I have something of yours which I intend to return means that we have to meet again. Over 25 years ago a friend gave me a then in-style Indian bedspread which a friend of his had left by him. I promised to hold on to it, and did so, though over the years I could only vaguely remember who it originally belonged to. It never did get returned. And of course there are books which I've kept for people. Though chances are negligible that I'll ever see these people again, these books have remained on my shelves even though I have no use for them.

When these particular friends moved away I agreed to hold on to a box of ... well, upon investigation I pretty much reached the conclusion that it was a box of disposables. Once I actually looked through the objects inside the box - mostly do-dads related to building and/or home repair, it seemed that rather than being asked to hold on to the box, I was being offered it with an invitation to throw out what I didn't want.

But throwing those objects out wouldn't be much of an expression of friendship. True, most probably neither of us will have any needs for the objects in the box, but as long as I have room for it (which is, admittedly, quite an exaggeration) holding on to it is a means of maintaining a friendship.

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