Sunday, January 15, 2006
We were already ex’s, had been since the fall (my idea) after about two years together, five as friends. As two writers with birthdays within a few days of each other, we gave each other books, always.
Not this year. The year after I left him, he gave me gift after gift, each small, hand-crafted, more perfect than the next: a nightlight with a green sunflower scrim (I am afraid of the dark); a red-haired angel to hang above my bed (I am afraid of the dark); a book of Gustav Klimt paintings, a Virginia Woolf journal, and the bracelet: orange Chinese wood beads.
It’s supposed to be good luck, he said.
I gave him books.
If you have seen me give a reading in the past six years, or talk on a panel, or teach a class, or sing in a bar, or do anything which causes my heart to beat faster, I have been wearing this bracelet. I was wearing it the day I saw him in a bar in Vancouver, five years after we said goodbye in a frat house parking lot, four years after we stopped speaking or writing. We started speaking again.
I lay my hand on the bar to order.
I recognize that bracelet, he said.
The elastic is stretched out and the beads are dirty, and I don’t wear it so much as carry it: in a zipped pocket of my bag, always. And I don’t carry it for luck so much as reassurance: that we go on, that concern goes on even after we’ve dumped or done the dumping, that care lasts beyond breaking, that love lasts beyond losing, always.
Posted by Alison Stine