The Clasp

I never had the money my sisters had. I never chose a sensible career path or sheltered in the safety of a solid relationship. I rode the crest of a wave ~ crashing, picking myself up and getting on again. My path has been bruised and alert, never fitting the mold. The Goodwill was my Neiman Marcus, junkers my transport.

I am not a gift giver or anyone who appreciates material things. They get in my way, need tending, replacing and are cumbersome to manage from the crest of a wave. But my mother loves things that sparkle, and grace her neck and ears with beauty. She belongs in the scene of a British movie, where the husband tiptoes behind her, gently kissing her cheek as she sits at her vanity. His starched white cuff is all that shows on screen, as he flips open a velvet hinged case to release diamonds which drip from her neck and cascade from each ear. That is my mothers role. She is the feminine bird fixing her hair and fluffing her ruffles for an evening of elegance and polish.

I know this about her. I want to please, to care for her, to fill in her empty places and so I shop. I shop without knowledge, money or experience. I shop for the child in her who delights at surprise.

I always buy jewelry because she can’t have enough. I imagine she will wear my gifts for a few years, feeling my love as she fastens the clasp across her wrist, around her neck or over each lobe. What I did not account for, is that she would keep my gifts year after year, attached to each one more completely than we bonded as mother and daughter.

How shocked I was to see the gifts from my days in poverty still owned and worn, the price I paid betraying itself in the green tinge on her finger or the dull marks on her neck.

Oh mother dear, forgive me. That was the best I could do, when you deserved so much more.

written 10-16-08