Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This despised thing.

I hate this--about myself, and about the situation I end up in over and over. But here it is again: at dinner, she sits between us, praises (and rightly so) the open fullness of my relationship with my parents, the ways we tell each other so many things, the way they let me curl up between them in bed the night I split with my then-somebody, even though I was 25, because I was still and am still their baby. She turns to him and says, "Do you tell your parents about your girlfriends?" "Well," he says, "there haven't really been girlfriends, until the current one." And I feel some little thing in my gut turn its face to the wall and breathe a sad, heavy sigh. Why should this be? How is it possible that I still haven't resolved this?

At some other moment--because people are starting to peel away and head for home, and because we're academics, and so we are analyzing and assessing everything most of the time but especially at threshold moments that lend themselves to retrospection--someone asks her what she was looking for when she came here. She turns to me and says, "Why did you come here?" I realize that there's one thing for which I'd hoped but that hasn't happened, and so I give the general answer, the one that encompasses: I came to recharge. I came to reassess some important things.

And I did. And I have.

* * *

As if dinner hadn't done enough to unsettle me, I had it dawn on me over the course of the evening that I haven't seen my Naxos eye necklace since April--since, specifically, the day my newest Superhero necklace arrived. Because I received it just before lunch, I took off the necklace I was wearing and put on the new one. I put the old necklace into the little pouch in which the new one had arrived. I now believe that, while cleaning my flat for the first of my visitors in May, I may have thrown out the envelope containing the little pouch. It seems so improbable, and yet my efforts to locate the envelope and/or the pouch have been utterly futile this evening. This loss makes me feel ill; a dear friend helped me pick out that necklace during our stay on Naxos in 1995, almost exactly thirteen years ago, and it has seen me through quite a lot in the meantime. Perhaps the worst detail of this frustratingly inane story is that I am still in possession of all manner of crap that I don't need, crap that I didn't throw out while I was cleaning the flat. And yet I suspect that the envelope and the pouch and my beloved necklace didn't survive the cleaning, simply because they didn't scream "you shouldn't throw me out unless you shred me first" the way my idiotic piles of junk mail did. Damnit!

There's nothing for this but to go to sleep, having said my prayer to Saint Anthony. But a tiny part of me can't help but wonder whether the loss of my Naxos eye--which is meant to be a good luck charm, and (even more than that) a protection from the evil eye--has somehow contributed to my loss of equilibrium in the past month. That part of me is already trying to figure out how to find a flight to Naxos and get a new pendant before heading back to the U.S.


Blogger KYlitprof said...

I'm so sorry that you are yet again feeling raw and wounded. I'm also sorry that my gift seems to have occasioned a loss. I hope that your Naxos necklace will turn up.

9:16 PM, June 11, 2008  
Blogger Dr. S said...

It was by no means the fault of your gift. I was just so excited to get it that I then forgot about getting my old necklace back out of the envelope after lunch, and after a few days, and after a week or so when I cleaned up. So it wasn't your gift that occasioned it; it was my own negligence, which is the frustrating thing. Also frustrating: that I am cursing the fact that I cleaned the flat at all.

Maybe this is just the year I'm supposed to change my good luck charm.

3:53 AM, June 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this will be the year that you fully realize that we make our own luck. Don't attribute all the good things that have happened to you to a necklace. Don't forget that you've weathered some pretty crummy stuff, too, despite the necklace.

6:01 AM, June 12, 2008  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Yes, this is true.

To a point! At dinner last night, my Canadian friend was trying to figure out how I got such good parents, and why I have such a close relationship with my good parents, and after a point, all I could say was that I got lucky--because I did. So. Really, I'm just sad about the necklace, which was a piece that I loved not least because it was the only one of its kind in the jewelry store where I bought it.

7:10 AM, June 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Different anonymouse, but I'll add that even lost things (or opportunities) can be a strange form of luck: you can miss a turn, curse yourself the whole way to the next exit, then arrive back at your road to find a four car pileup involving the truck you were just behind. Or you can miscommunicate, blow the budding relationship, and so never learn how wrong that person would have been for you. I try never to regret things I haven't done, only the pain I've caused.

As for things, they come when they're needed and leave when they're needed elsewhere. You've got your own eyes, lovely ones as I remember, and they've seen Naxos, so why not think of them as your charm? I do.

9:41 AM, June 12, 2008  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Now that's just sweetness. Thank you.

And back at KYLitProf: maybe the accumulation of all of these comments and of a further day of thought on my part is leading me to believe that your gift *did* occasion a loss, but only a good one, and one that would make me think about the message that comes with all the Superhero necklaces: You are your very own superhero.

Speaking of superheroes, Word Girl kicks ASS.

10:14 AM, June 12, 2008  
Blogger Gryphon said...

Oh, I'm so sorry--I know how wrenching it can be to lose something you love. The tiny wooden elephant I bought on a third grade field trip, who has traveled with me everywhere, was lost on the way to Scotland--I thought he had slipped from my bag during my frantic run through the Charlotte airport. But then he turned up just a month ago, nestled at the bottom of a secret pocket in the bag I thought I had so thoroughly searched--he had been with me all along. I hope your necklace will reappear as well.

12:52 PM, June 12, 2008  
Anonymous MG said...

Oh, Saint Anthony. To him I have turned in many a dark hour, intoning, "Oh, come ON, Saint Anthony, give it up already." I'd like to think you traded one eye for another, although a mad dash to Naxos sounds like a lovely treat.

3:01 PM, June 12, 2008  
Blogger KYlitprof said...

Glad you liked Wordgirl!

Thanks for letting me off the hook. This is my week for guilt over lost things: Yesterday I ignored the impulse to pull over and pick up a loose dog by the side of a busy road near the baby's daycare and today I saw signs looking for that very lost dog. I can only hope that someone else is keeping it safe and commit to doing my part next time.

10:21 PM, June 12, 2008  
Blogger Dr. S said...

In no way should you feel any kind of guilt, at all, ever, about the necklace. I'm sorry that the coincidence of the dog has you feeling guilty, though. You are, as always, doing the best you can. Not picking up a loose dog near daycare seems to me a perfectly reasonable thing to have done; how were you to know that the dog was safe to have in your car? with your baby?

No guilt! (We could do rip-offs of the old No Fear t-shirts.)

5:03 AM, June 13, 2008  

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