The Locket

I remember the night my dad came home from a business trip to Vancouver and Denver.

He brought home necklaces for me and my mom. And not just any old necklace, not something tacky or gaudy. Lockets. Gold. Hearts. On gold chains so fine you'd fear they'd break by just picking them up.

Mine. Three silver flower heads on one side of the heart, like poppies or... petunias? Engraved with three leaves on each side of the flowers. On the back side of the locket, a ripple effect. The whole thing is so thin you'd not expect it to be able to hold even a picture. But in it, there's four slots for pictures. One on each side of the locket, and then a smaller heart in the middle.

I think I put it on right away. And when I went to sleep, I put it delicately into the box it came in.

I wanted to wear it to school so badly. I wanted to show everyone what my dad got me. Even though we fought a lot. I wanted to show that I wasn't completely helpless, loveless. That despite everything I was, my dad still loved me.

But I didn't want to lose it. To have the chain snap like it looks like it could at any moment. I didn't want to even chance it, for it to be lost in the hustle and bustle of school life.

And I remember that a few days later, my dad approached me. He said, with annoyance in his voice, that if I didn't like his gift and I wasn't going to wear it then I might as well give it back to him so he could sell it or something.

I know I fought against it. I said that I liked it, asked him to please not take it away, and that I was just scared of the chain breaking.

I don't know if he understood. If he felt bad. If he even believed me. I don't remember what he said. I think he just said "Fine," and walked away.

I'm staring at it now, you know? And I don't know what to make of it. I've only worn it once or twice. I'd forgotten about it, really.

Maybe I'll wear it again someday soon.

Maybe I won't.

I think I have to figure out if I'd be wearing it for me, or because I want them to notice it and for something to finally give around here.

I wonder if the chain is really as frail as it seems...


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