We are consistently amazed by our customers’ many talents. Naturally, they are all wonderful jewelry designers, but many are also skilled knitters, painters, photographers, and even writers. One of our loyal customers, Karen McRobie, mentioned that she had written a short story/letter to her daughter that we might find entertaining. We read it, loved it, and asked if we could share it with the readers of our blog. So here it is!
By Karen McRobie
It was nice to talk with you today. I can’t believe that you’re suddenly hundreds of miles from home, away at school. I went into your bedroom expecting to see you there. But you have a new bedroom now.
So … In our lives, we find ourselves searching. And searching. Our lives can be a quest. We look for meaning, we look for love, we look for a better way of life. Today, we looked for a lost earring.
Not just any earring. YOUR earring.
The one that I lost. The one that was half of a pair of earrings that you received from your Aunt Sondra for your birthday and casually left in the living room. Abandoned, I should say.
They were soooo pretty. You know how I am about anything sparkly and pretty. You should have known that I would not be able to resist their lure, their tug. Why, those pretty little earrings had the gravitational pull of a small black hole, and although I resisted for more than a week, in the end, I am ashamed that I was not strong.
* * * *
It was Friday, so I left about 15 minutes later than usual to catch the train, which always cheers me up. I don’t like the walk down our hill, since it’s an extra strain on my toes, but that’s a short part of the walk. I HATE the crossing light there at Broadway and 38th Street – it takes FOREVER to change. So yesterday I did something uncharacteristic and I jaywalked, since there were no cars coming. I reached the little bit of a median strip just as my phone rang. I knew it would be your brother, and it was, and he wanted to tell me about a nightmare he had had and how it had scared him. So I continued safely (albeit illegally) across Broadway and trekked along to the train station, finishing up my conversation with Brian in a matter of a couple of blocks…
Ticket in, ticket out, up the escalator (take some steps there, too — good for the ol’ butt muscles!) and onto the platform, line up with the others, discard yucky parts of the day’s newspaper, read the overhead platform sign, wait, board train, spy empty seat, sit down, take a load off.
And then some instinct told me to check my right earlobe.
It was naked. No earring.
I reached for the other ear — maybe I had only imagined putting them on and admiring them in the mirror? My left earlobe had performed admirably. Earring in place. “Oh, cat poop!” my mind shrieked soundlessly. Check scarf: negative. Check pockets: nope. Check the floor, the seat, the newspaper, the … nothing left to check. The earring was gone.
At work, I took out the now single earring, and I showed it to my coworker Maria, who admired it and grieved along with me about the loss of its mate.
I spent the day at work without earrings, for the first time. I felt it was a small punishment for me, considering what I had done.
At quitting time, I was on the fast track to pick up a dessert at Safeway, gather up your brother, and take him to his concert. I was grateful that the severe rain and wind storm of the afternoon was over. At home, I combed the front hallway. No earring. I checked the stairs and the street where I opened the car door to retrieve my school bag in the morning. No earring.
* * * * *
“Phil,” I said to your dad, “I am going to offer Brian and his friend a reward of $5 if they retrace my steps and find that earring.”
“Do you know how hard it rained here yesterday?” Phil asked. “We got one-and-a-half inches in a couple of hours. You’ll never find that earring. Let me see the other one. Nah, it would get washed away if someone didn’t pick it up.”
I pondered silently the joy that would be felt by a little girl finding the sparkly, shiny earring on the sidewalk. It would certainly be a treasure to the right person.
“You’re right, of course,” I said, “but I’m going to have to look, anyway. I’ll retrace my steps.”
“I’ll go with you,” he said, and I knew it was the steps that appealed to him.
So, off we went to the train station, following my route (but not jaywalking this time) and I looked extra, extra hard along the path where I was on the phone with Brian, because that would have been the logical place to have lost it. Nothing. And Daddy was right. There was mud everywhere, and the rain had pretty much swept the sidewalks clean of debris. We walked along and I held the remaining earring in my left hand, sometimes dangling it in the afternoon sunlight to see how its mate might appear on the ground. Nothing.
We crossed Telegraph Avenue and started along the sidewalk to where the train parking lot is. It turns out that a smashed car window produces imitation crystals the color and size of that on the earring. There had been a break-in or a crash that created a field of shards that beckoned to me, glinting in the sunlight and pretending to be the sought-after earring. It was useless.
But we continued on our mission, and I would not have gone to the station agent if Daddy had not found a $14 train ticket on the ground in the parking lot. He went to check if it was still good, and I decided to ask the station agent if anyone had turned in a lost earring.
He was really nice and did a system-wide check, which was very, very impressive. Alas, no earrings in the lost and found.
We turned back, and Daddy said, “Well, we’ll go back the way we came and we’ll take one last look.”
So we did, and every so often, just as on the way to the train, I would spy something shiny on the ground, bend to inspect it, and it would be some broken glass, a bit of a mirror, or a piece of cellophane from a discarded cigarette pack. No earring.
In the meantime, I spoke to your father of how to tell you about the loss. And so I just have. But then I started scheming.
“Maybe I can go to Folk’s Art and buy a similar pair. She probably wouldn’t know the difference!” I said hopefully to your father.
“Let me see it. You could just make another one.”
“By the time I bought all of the components, it would cost more than $30 at Micheal’s Craft Store,” I countered. “Besides, I’d never be able to match that crystal.”
I felt so guilty. My fist tightened around the remaining earring.
We were almost back to Broadway, and all hope was lost. Maybe someone had found it and would cherish it, but it was probably in a gutter somewhere, or smashed in the middle of the street.
Or sitting on the sidewalk in plain sight right in front of me.
“OMG!” I shouted. “How can it be? We walked past here 30 minutes ago, and didn’t see it?! It’s right in plain sight!”
How could I have dropped the remaining earring here on the sidewalk without knowing it? Disbelieving, I slowly opened my left fist. It was not empty.
“OMG,” I said again. And again and again.
For there, on a broad stretch of brand-new Kaiser sidewalk just yards from Broadway, more than 24 hours and 1.5 inches of rain after falling to the ground, was your other earring. I snatched it up, held it in the light, comparing it to its rejoicing mate. I curled the two tightly in my fist…
And so a journey of 5200 steps ended with a miracle.
All my love,
(P.S. The earrings are in your room, and I promise never to wear them again.)
Copyright © Karen McRobie 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen McRobie with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.