The occasion, many years in the past, was still mint-fresh in her memory.

The air was nervous with excitement and anticipation, and the promise of finally having grown up. Grown up enough, that is, to possess a real metallic compass box. Shiny orange and black, a graduation from the childish plastic boxes with two decks to separate stuff – stuff which only kids could be trusted not to handle correctly. Not so with the new compass box, where all the pieces nestled together comfortably. She opened the box carefully to find the all the geometry apparatus enclosed in a clean plastic cover. Two setsquares, a protractor and a 15 cm scale. The divider and compass lay separately. She carefully removed the cover from the geometry set and replaced the set in the box. Put in newly sharpened, woodsy smelling pencils. Without the eraser of course, those were only used by kids. She had a new eraser now which went into its own place at the right corner of the box. First day of its usage, she lovingly scratched her name onto the lid of the box with the shiny new divider. Little did she know then she was hastening the rust process of her box. Every day she cleaned the box, removing the eraser suds left behind, wiping the scale free of the pencil black and separating the quarrelsome duo of the compass and eraser or the over-loving duo of the scale and eraser.

Happy with this token of graduation, her school-life proceeded smoothly, with only minor trials and tribulations…

She put the object back in its place and smiled. Memories; all triggered by an old, plastic, cataracted protractor found when cleaning out an old cupboard.

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