Charli Mills’ prompt is
December 17, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about rare gems. It can be treasure, rough or twinkling, an object, place or person. Go on an adventure, let you imagination fly and kick perfectionism to the curb. You are in pursuit of something greater!
I cannot think of gems without thinking about my mother’s rings. She had three which she wore all the time. A wedding band, an engagement ring and an eternity ring. The stones were a mix of diamonds – three in the engagement ring and a setting in the eternity ring which also had sapphires. I’m pretty sure that’s right.
The Vet, being the only granddaughter was the planned recipient of these rings but at the time mum told me that – maybe fifteen years ago – the day seemed a long way off.
Roll the clock on to the end of 2009 and mum goes into a rapid decline. From her 83rd birthday lunch with as many of her family as could make it in late October to her final admission to hospital in the last days of December, we, the Archaeologist and I lived a rollercoaster existence as we tried to cope with losing her. She remained stubbornly determined to live at her home so we arranged carers to help. They were magnificent. One morning her carer found her unable to get out of bed. She was taken to hospital where a duodenal ulcer was diagnosed, said ulcer having perforated and emergency surgery necessary. She never recovered and died in the early hours of January 6th.
By then I was staying in her house, in a bit of a daze. I had to sort out the paperwork that follows a death, signing this and approving that. It was only later, maybe a week, maybe two that I realised I had signed for her belongings that she had had when admitted that last time and nowhere were her rings mentioned. I checked with the hospital but with no result. I couldn’t say if she had been wearing them that day. We checked with her carers without success. The Archaeologist and I cleared her house over the coming months but nothing came to light. We found two boxes of jewellery but not her rings.
They’re still missing. Someone took them. Obviously. It’s galling of course but they aren’t my most precious memories of my mum. No one steals your memories yet, not a human agency anyway. Those are the precious stones, the rare gems that count. They are the priceless foundations of your character. The patient teaching, the inexorable and inevitable chastisement, the rippling tides of laughter. She bequeathed me her optimism, her steadfast refusal to get hung up on the past or spend any unnecessary time thinking about the future. She couldn’t understand the idea of boredom – life had too many options, not too few.
And so to the prompt. As usual it continues with Mary and her family. The previous episodes are here (and by now certainly need a decent edit!) But you can at least catch up on the back story.
Mary let the last rays of the year’s sun warm her face. Paul held her hand. ‘Bit of an annus horribilis,’ he said.
‘New year’s resolutions?’
‘Find this twin sister I’m meant to have.’
‘She’s probably dead. They’d have kept you together, surely?’
‘Now maybe. Not back then.’
‘Bury the hatchet with Rupert?’
Her loathsome half-brother. ‘Maybe.’
Paul held out a box. ‘I know it’s early but twenty years married means platinum.’
She held up the ring, smiling. ‘Grandma’s?’
‘Yes. The band was so worn I had the stones reset.’
Mary kissed her husband. ‘My diamond geezer.’