by Natasha Wood
We came to the last piece of furniture;
Dusty and sweaty, we manhandled the sofa
Away from the wall,
And there was the earring:
In the sunshine which streamed in from the uncurtained window.
I caught my breath.
Dad looked at me, down at the jewel,
Then hurriedly back at me.
I remembered the day she lost it
A year ago;
We had been going out for dinner
At a restaurant we couldn’t afford
She’d appeared from the bedroom, radiant, sparkling,
As she always did when I remembered her.
She was fretting about Sam –
I told her not to worry.
She was struggling with her earrings,
In her haste she dropped one
And it clattered and skittered across the floor into oblivion.
No time to search for it, a substitute pair was found.
We were off.
That was before
Carefully I placed my end of the sofa down,
My father braced the weight against his knees.
Stooping, I carefully retrieved the jewel.
Laid flat on my palm the light danced on its crystal detail.
‘Dad,’ Sam had appeared in the doorway,
My son looked up at me and then at the jewel,
‘Was that mummy’s?’
I wanted to close my hand, hold the jewel within it,
Not let it go,
To keep it for myself.
‘Yes,’ was my simple reply to my son.
He reached out his small hand
And took it.
Late that night, in our new home,
I slipped silently into my son’s room and retrieved his treasure box.
In with the mottled pink seashell, giant pine cone, and assorted coloured foil sweet wrappers was the earring,
Nestled amongst the treasures.
I took it.
Natasha Wood lives and writes in London.