Tangible reminder

{photo courtesy of Vamps Jewelry}

I was getting ready to go to my mom’s today for Mother’s Day. I was keeping my fingers crossed because I didn’t feel well the last few days. I figured I would wear my locket, this adorable heart with engravings on the front. I wore it a lot when I was healthy, so it brings me good memories. There was a small knot in the chain I wear it on, so I spent a good 20 minutes patiently tugging at it. Finally, I was able to undo the knot and slide the locket onto the super thin chain. But as I did so, I heard this “pinck!” sound and thought I had just seen something sliding super fast into the sink.

My eyes immediately went to drain in the sink. Such a small opening. Did my locket… could it have… it didn’t. No. This could not be happening to me. I wasn’t even standing that close to the sink. I go searching behind bottles and lotions spread over the sink counter. Then I finally realize that it is gone.

Suddenly, I’m weeping like my heart could break. It’s like the bottom of my world fell out. I won’t ever find a locket like this again. And it was the only thing that was making my day slightly bearable at that point in the morning. And I had just exerted most of my morning’s precious energy to get the knots out of the chain… for what? The locket is gone anyway so the chain is useless. I try and try to make things better, and they fall apart anyway.

 

So I’m sobbing and yelling at myself in the mirror again and again, “You try and try to make things better, and things just keep getting worse! Just stop trying, you’re not getting anywhere anyway.”

Of course, I’m talking about my health. And the events of this particular morning. I had spent some time searching through my clothing trying to find something to wear other than my favorite pair of jeans and sweatshirt that I end up wearing most every day. When I try on the clothing I used to wear when I was healthy, it slides right off of me. I was looking at myself in the mirror, and I look like a skeleton with thin shoulders. A tiny thin face with haunted eyes and dark circles under them. I’m 5 ft, 4 inches and weigh about 91 lbs. Even my size zero outfits fall right off of me. I was depressed looking at myself, so I was happy when I remembered that I could always wear my locket. It seems magical, and I can always feel good vibes from the past when it lays against my skin. An automatic lifting of my spirit.

 

But now it’s gone. A flash of time, and instantly it’s gone. My mojo is deflated. I won’t be able to wear it and have a constant reminder of my health back then. Back when I wore it often, I would play with it out of boredom when I was in meetings by twisting it or feeling the engravings on the front. Or I would twist in when I was waiting for someone, like a boyfriend, or a train to come, or when I was nervous or excited, so it usually was a calming habit. When I got sick, I would catch myself doing the same thing with the necklace, and it would transport me back in time to one good memory after the other.

 

I wore the locket after I bought it for myself as a birthday present six years ago and let my boyfriend at the time think he had bought it for me. This boyfriend who I’ll call Manslow borrowed money from me often, including the day he purchased the necklace. I was his sugar mama, and he was the young struggling artist. Having an artistic eye, he did do well in picking out just the right heart shaped one, though. After we split up, I wore the necklace constantly to remind myself that men come and go, but self love is the best love.

 

I  was wearing the locket a lot when I was taking classes at Hunter College on the upper east side in Manhattan. So it reminds me of how bored I was to be back in class, but how thrilled I was to be studying in NYC.  My classes would often be on the 11th floor or higher. On the days I had late night classes, I was impressed with the lights and night view of the city from so high a distance. I would sit there bored with the professor’s voice, tapping my foot or pencil impatiently. But excited to be alive and living in such a city as a local, not just one of the many awestruck tourists milling around down below.

 

There are too many memories of firsts associated with this locket. The trip to Connecticut with some other teachers from school to a summer conference on giftedness. Being out by the campus pond at night waiting for Manslow to call night after night and he never did… never picked up his phone when I called him either. Sitting in meeting after meeting at school, half there and half not there, listening with one ear and plotting out where I was going shopping that evening. I wore the necklace with my black Limited dress the first time I met Scott. We met for a concert at Carnegie Hall, and he showed up on a motorcycle. I was not impressed with him because he seemed like he was old enough to be my father. But he was cute in some way. Until he disappeared after taking up my whole summer. Because he had cold feet and the reliability of a moody female. I wore the necklace when we went up to Lake George in upstate NY. I was deeply relieved to be away from the noise of the city and I loved how peaceful and old fashioned Scott’s quiet town was. We had a bonfire and rum and cokes, and I was happy. In a bittersweet way because I knew my time with him was not well spent, despite his relaxing cabin, lake and woods.

 

Still another memory from the days I wore that locket: the trips on the Amtrak train from NYC to my home town, back and forth for each holiday. I was always glad to just sit back on those trains to take a breather with absolutely nothing to do but watch the scenery slip by and drink coffee heavily doped up with chocolate powder. I remember relaxing on those train rides and feeling so strong, independent and proud of myself that I was living the life I wanted.

 

I wore the necklace through the next phase of my life, hanging out with my friends who I’ll call Soreno and Parker. When I met them, I was high on life, and the locket reminds me of these times. Weekends exploring the city, Saturdays in  Central Park amongst hordes of other sun bathers on towells. Don’t have a beach? Go lay out at Central Park. Walks at Belvidere Castle at night, dinners in Little Italy outdoors on a sidewalk under strings of lights, drunken nights, hazy jazz clubs, endless walks in the night from one subway line to the next. Sitting cross legged on the floor in the aisles of Barnes and Nobles on Saturday mornings, shoulder to shoulder with one guy friend or another, reading through stacks of books we never bought and sipping coffee.

 

I guess it’s not who the locket reminds me of. Although remembering certain people I knew then reminds me of how confident and happy I was with my life at that point in time. I was happy outside of them, not because of them. That locket reminds me of the energy and life that was so innate to who I was then.

 

I know, I know. I still am life and energy. But it was so much easier to remember that with something tangible in my fingers. I have a new mission. I will find another locket…. just like the one that went down the sink. I will not give up!

 

 

 

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***Update:  I put a note on the sink for Karl explaining that I’d dropped my locket down the drain and was going to search the pipes later that evening. Karl was out of town visiting his mom for the day. When I came home from visiting my mom, Karl had already pried open the pipes for me and had done a thorough search in them. I felt special that he had gone and done that for me when I was away. When Karl reported that he found no locket in the pipes, I got excited and went upstairs to do another search of the bathroom floor and counter space area. Karl pushed a tube of toothpaste aside and- voila!

 

There it sat. Right there on the counter the whole time. All this drama for nothing. Ha ha. Welcome, welcome to my world.

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