Objects Carry Stories
Objects carry stories that are sealed in the boundaries of their forms. These earrings were my mother’s. After she had passed, one day, as my siblings and I were cleaning out her house, I found them in her dresser in her bedroom. I’d rummaged through that old dresser a 1000 times before throughout my childhood and adolescence and now here I was again about to sift through it in the wake of her passing, the way a miner pans for gold.
What would I find of her in here? Nothing? Something?
The funny thing is at times like these on the precipice, everything inconsequential really is inconsequential. Ma was clean, but her dresser wasn’t neat or organized. I didn’t care though because what mattered was it was hers and at that moment that was all that mattered. I fanned opened the hinged doors and reached in to pull out the inner drawer, which was more like a wooden pull out tray. There in the boxy wooden divider slats were Ma’s Jewels. I smiled, they weren’t glitzy or expensive. Not a single piece. Those had been purged years ago after her divorce from our father. I think I even had one tucked in some clippy velvet box back home. Hers were now simple, a mix of practical meets mystical. Chains and earrings with a rusty nail and some lint could be found in a box in a slat. There was an unsightly mish mosh of mashed up jewelry in another, a kind of jewelry ball a la rubix cube, inviting me to solve the riddle. I didn’t take the bait. I did wonder how on earth they got that way. I imagined the ball formed from several travel stints in a carelessly managed suitcase to her best friend, Ruthies, in Riverdale. She’d bought one too many silver chains at the behest of her Buddhist monk friend, Bij.
I returned to sifting and panning some more slats and my eyes floated upon a pair of black onyx danglers. In a sudden flash, she became manifest again, if only for a moment. You see, it’s moments like these where you touch the eternal through form. Anyhow, these babies possessed a hint of Egyptian Cleopatra mixed with modern woman. I smiled, yeah, I’d never thought of it before, but that kinda was Ma. Looking at them on that somber day, I felt the joy of finding the marker to a trail when you are lost in the woods. These were hers, wholly hers. These were her. I felt a kinship to these dislocated danglers. We both were lost, had lost something, I, a mother and they, a person to adorn, events to sparkle at. I found solace in our new found friendship. As I starred at them, a montage of mom moments flooded my brain: Her tender smile when I shared a teenage heartbreak, her grinny joy, as I walked off the stage at my college graduation, a candlelit holiday dinner where she proposed a toast, clank went the glasses, the light off their rims glinting in my mind’s eye, a zaney antic she dragged me into in the living room, which resulted in overly confident bellowy singing and liberating belly laughs. It was all her attempt to seize the moment and live more fully the day. I could hear the sound of her voice. And when the kalaidescope of images that tagged these moments faded, I realized all the while the danglers were there too. Companions on the road of her life, our life. She wore them so often and I hadn’t noticed until just that moment standing there in front of that old mahogany dresser. It caused a rush of curiosity to bubble up in me at what exactly it was about these earrings that she felt really represented her? What was she drawn to? I mused, my own personal Rosebud… Was it the pyramid wrapped with a circle? Starring at them, they conjured the image of a phoenix from the flames. But I reminded myself, I always saw Ma that way. Maybe I was projecting. And once again I slipped into the inner camera reel, remembering how the danglers accented her high cheekbones and if I followed that line, that the danglers invited me to follow, from metal to bone to flesh, like lines on graph paper all meeting in a single point, I’d find the home of the danglers, the love we shared, and I’d peek a glimpse of the line of her dreamy deeply set dark brown eyes that when I let the image crystalize revealed a meeting with her soul.
I kept them, those earrings, like portals to another world. And when I held them in my hand or looked at them again, I knew I would find that pivot point on the graph once again.
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