Thursday, February 22, 2007

"What do you DO with something like this?"
she thought as she attempted to untangle the necklaces from the mess they had lain in for months on her dresser.

Not what do you do with the mess, but with a piece of jewelry like the one that was causing most of the trouble. It was a slim gold chain—-one of those smooth ones with the tiny square links like little magic boxes—-and hanging from it was a small gold tear drop pendant with three tiny diamonds and two small emeralds.

It wasn’t her.

It never had been.

She assumed that the stones and the metal were real—-that was the sort of retarded thing that he would have done. Bought her a too expensive and not at all right piece of jewelry when what she really wanted was for him to come home from the bar after his shift. Just to come home. Not be drinking after hours with his coworkers every night while she lay awake in their apartment in the city, waiting, crying, simmering. Wearing the wrong necklace. And here, ten years later, she sat on the couch in her bathrobe, a world away from that place, that girl.

She had worn the necklace until the end of the relationship and then it had moved with her to a new apartment through a series of relationships and not-so-relationships, to a husband she knew would never pan out and who also gave her jewelry she never now wore. (What is it with jewelry? she thought. Has society just pummeled this into their heads to the point where they wandered out like robots, mechanically handing over their maxed out credit cards to suited men in malls all over the country?) She didn’t want jewelry from them. She never had. She wanted love and acceptance. She wanted safety and comfort. She wanted cookies. Like now. Pete had just walked in the door from running off to the store in the ten degree weather because she wanted cookies with her coffee.

Pete who had given her the two rings she now wore, amounting together to less than a hundred dollars and without measure in their worth.

"But what does one DO with something like this?"

If she ever got it untangled.

It was a little knot of experience. The waxed cord attached to a pewter talisman she had bought at the renaissance festival when she was in high school and interested in witches and darkness and punk rock; the recycled glass orb on the leather thong she had bought when she was working in Jackson, Wyoming; the frail little silver and green bead necklace her friend Greta had bought her "just because"; and this ridiculous gold necklace—a little reminder of her crazy period. Addled on birth control pills, migraines, and unsatisfactory attention from an unfulfilling man.

"Wear it," Pete said.

She told him where it came from.

"Sell it?"

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