…you get what you need
Grandmother didn’t have a jewelry box. She had a tower, and it bulged with an enchanting assortment of sparkly rings, slinky necklaces, and stretchy bracelets.
Part of her collection contained a matching ring and necklace. Amethyst, heart-shaped gemstones set in gold. These were her favorites, and they too became mine.
She gifted them to me before she passed away in 2006 with the hope they be worn for special occasions. I wore the ring one weekend trip to my sister-in-law’s house and when I got home and unpacked, discovered it was missing.
A phone call to the sister and her subsequent search yielded nothing. I ransacked the suitcases and clothes and combed every square inch of our bedroom with no results. Grandmother was gone and now so was her ring.
My search became obsessive. I pulled things from closets and inspected the empty spaces by flashlight. Like a prospector, I dumped contents of drawers along with high hopes into boxes and panned for gold. I rummaged through old coat pockets and found only wrinkled receipts and sticky note lists covered in lint.
After a few years, I questioned the importance of the ring. Why did I need it in order to remember my grandmother? But I didn’t know the answer.
Then my oldest daughter, who had been close with Grandmother, announced her wedding day for August 1, 2009, and her color palette in shades of purple. The amethyst heart-shaped ring would have been perfect for her to wear.
That spring before the wedding, three years after Grandmother’s death and losing her ring, I quit wrestling with the grief. She lived on through us and our memories. We didn’t need a piece of jewelry to conjure her presence; her love.
This peaceful acceptance stilled my need to continue the search. So, when I spring cleaned, I didn’t bother to double check pockets, I simply folded everything and telephoned Jack, a local man who takes such things and resells them.
A few hours after his pick up, the doorbell chimes. It’s Jack and in his hand is the ring. He speaks, but it’s not his voice. It’s Grandmother’s I hear say, “I thought you might want this back.”
He had found it in the pocket of my old jacket. The same jacket I wore to my sister-in-law’s house that weekend. The same pocket I had checked more than a dozen times.
August 1, 2009, Jess, escorted by her father, walks past where I’m seated. She smiles at me and looks down at her bouquet. She wiggles her finger. The one wearing an amethyst, heart-shaped ring set in gold.
This is the 19th story in the Objects as Waypoints Writing Project series.