My grandfather on my father's side is a jeweler. Second or third generation, I can't remember which; suffice it to say that the family has been in the business of baubles for quite a long time. Whenever a doctor or prominent local lawyer needed a wedding ring set, my grandfather would design, cut and create the most beautiful stones and fixtures you've ever seen. He became quite well known for it, in our little town. Anyway, he's gotten on in years and no longer works, but he's got gobs of jewelry around -- pieces that he's made, rings that he's stashed away, necklaces lying in great gilded ropes. This past Christmas he surprised my family and me by giving some of these things away. He gave my brother a pair of solid gold cufflinks with mother of pearl inlay; my mother had a choice of seven or eight rings, each set with a ruby, emerald or sapphire. And he gave me the necklace you see in the photo. It was impossible for me to get the details with my biter of a camera phone, but the pendant is essentially a circle of woven vines with three leaves in the middle, and each leaf is fixed with a single diamond chip in the center. It is easily the most beautiful -- and most meaningful -- gift that I have ever received from my grandfather. It reminds me of something that Galadriel would wear, or that you'd find in a fairy tale.
I wore the necklace almost daily after Christmas, despite my constant, nagging fear that one day the chain would snap and I'd lose it. I loved it. When I moved to Terre Haute at the beginning of January I was throwing things into boxes and slinging personal items around in a frenzy, just trying to get organized. I lived out of a hotel for a week while waiting to find an apartment in the area and, in that time, I changed necklaces three or four times. By the time I found an apartment, moved in, and got relatively settled, I had lost track of my grandfather's necklace. I turned the apartment upside down. I looked in old purses, scraped the bottoms of drawers, felt along baseboards and checked every possible hanging hook to see if there was a place I might have put it without thinking. I even called Todd and had him search through one of the suitcases I'd used to haul my stuff back and forth between Valpo and Terre Haute. No luck. I began to think that I'd lost it, left it at the hotel, or mistakenly thrown it away when I was cleaning out one of my purses, and the thought made me sick. I kept up an on-going search, even as I was running out of possible places to search.
And then, this afternoon, while I was lying on the couch grading a pile of free-writing journals and watching In Treatment (that show just sucks you in), I happened to look over at this valise-like case thing I use to store all of my old writing. I put looseleaf pages in there, semi-chaotic and semi-ordered, just to keep track of what I've written over the last ten or so years. I remember looking at the case and feeling very calm because part of me knew that I hadn't looked for the necklace there, although the case had been with me at the hotel and every place in between. I got up off the couch and went over to the case. Unsnapped the latches and drew back the worn leather straps. Inside, buried underneath a pile of old roleplaying logs, was my necklace. I had put it there during the move, where I knew it would be safe. The remarkable thing is, I should have looked there, I should have known that I'd assume that the safest place for an expensive piece of jewelry would be underneath a stack of roleplaying journals, whose value is only apparent to me. That it took me so long to uncover it was one thing; the slap-in-the-face moment of clarity was quite another.
I guess when you're ready to see something, you'll see it.