Occasionally, I come across some old essays that I never posted. Sometimes, the reason is immediately clear: “Wow, this is crappy.” Sometimes, I’m still uncomfortable with the subject matter. But sometimes, I feel like letting past me step up and have her say. This post was written a few months after Mama died, at a time when I was just starting to let myself be happy again.
About a year ago, I bought a cheap, silver star necklace at Target. I’d had the idea of a star necklace on my mind for a few months, with no real reason why. It just felt right, it felt like symbol for something indefinable, it felt like metaphor waiting to be written, it felt like it would be cute, too.
I never had a particular interest in stars before, but now all of a sudden, I wanted one on a chain around my neck, badly. I looked at all kinds of star necklaces- silver, gold, encrusted with diamonds or citron and even orange sapphires- what the hell? I looked on Etsy at dozens of hand-crafted, beautiful star necklaces, some with clean, simple lines, some with intricate old gears and other steampunk paraphernalia attached. I couldn’t decide; nothing I saw felt just right.
I wanted something I could wear on a dressy night out, though Lord knows I wasn’t having many of those at that time in my life. I wanted something I could wear every day with my t-shirts and jeans. I wanted something that I could sleep in, wear in the shower, run 26.2 miles in. Something pretty and sturdy and strong and comfortable.
In the end, I found that something while distractedly perusing the jewelry counter at Target on a rare and brief moment away from my child and 98-year-old charge. In a frantic rush to pick up something semi-important and get back to the car (and the kid, and the old lady, and the dog) in less than five minutes, I decided for God knows what reason to glance over their tiny jewelry selection. And there it was- sterling silver, simple but sparkly, and durable. Once I glanced at the price- marked down from $25 to less than $2- I was sold. I grabbed it, checked out, and have been wearing it ever since. The chain broke the first week I had it- no matter. I exchanged it for another chain that also, to my surprise, held another star charm that I had forgotten about. I had selected that charm because it was amber, one of my favorite materials. The shape barely registered until I was scrounging for spare chains.
Ever since I bought that star and put it on, I’ve seen stars everywhere, in significant and symbolic places. In a poem. In a picture. And of course, on me, everywhere that something significant has happened this year. I’m sure the stars are just showing up because I’m finally seeing them. There’s nothing magical about that. But maybe the fact that I’m finally letting myself see them again is the magic part.