Rough diamond

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.

2014-07-17 17.23.35

If you look closely you’ll see my mother’s double thumb – a source of much fascination to children down the years.

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.

Taking stock 

Mary let the last rays of the year’s sun warm her face. Paul held her hand. ‘Bit of an annus horribilis,’ he said.

She nodded.

‘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.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in flash fiction, miscellany, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Rough diamond

  1. willowdot21 says:

    Beautiful photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charli Mills says:

    Perhaps I’m gazing to deeply upon the page, but there’s a poignant connection between the reflective post about your mum and her rings and Mary’s flash. It’s as if the longing, hope and symbology of diamonds have melded between fact and fiction. Both are beautiful and together are rare.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Annecdotist says:

    Marvellous how you responded to Charli’s prompt with both the flash and the autobiographical lead up to it. So sad about your mother’s rings, and really horrible to think that someone would steal them at such a stressful time, but you’re absolutely right that the memories are more precious. Lovely photo and impressed with her double thumb, never come across that before.
    Despite missing your mum, I’m sure Team LePard is all set for a lovely for Christmas – wishing you the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Norah says:

    I’m sorry about your Mum’s rings too, Geoff. And losing her on the 12th day of Christmas in 2010 must have been difficult. Whatever the time is difficult but happening at this time of year certainly adds to the stress and emotional roller-coaster that comes with the season. I am so pleased that she gave you your optimism. Optimism itself can be a rare gem in some circles when we view the events that are taking place around us and the world. I love the optimism that you have injected into Mary’s story this time. I had thought her bitterness was going to devour her. I’m pleased she is starting to see her way through her loss. Great writing – both post and flash. Best wishes to you and all the (extended) family for the Christmas season and 2015.


  5. Pingback: Flashes Like Diamonds « Carrot Ranch Communications

  6. Ooh…I’m so angry about your mother’s rings. I hate that people think they can do things like that. You have a wonderful attitude about it (but maybe that’s just because you’ve had years to deal with it?) Love the photo. ❤ Great flash with the continuation of Mary's story.


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