My husband dangled something in front of my face. I stopped in the middle of what I was doing to see what it was. There seemed to be a suppressed brightness to the object, and quickly I realized that it was the necklace I used to always wear. That is, until I had a reason to stop wearing it. But I don't share that story with anyone, nor does he.
Regardless, I was shocked, and surprised, to see it again. The necklace was a silver locket that my best friend had gifted to me as a birthday and Christmas present; both her and her friend worked hard to give me this beautiful locket, which had inside of it a citrine pendant that would shine as bright as my love for my husband. There were intricate designs on the locket that could let you see the stone without having to open it, and the designs kept the brightness dimmed, but opening it would make the light brilliant. The pendant was brightest when I wore it, second brightest when a loved one held it, and otherwise looked like a normal stone when it wasn't worn or in possession by someone close to me. I had always thought it was the most beautiful gift in the world, even more so than a locket I had received from my husband two years prior the citrine locket.
I should explain why I was shocked to see it again. Before my breakdown, I had slowly stopped wearing both that necklace, and the aforementioned gift from my husband. I didn't stop cold turkey at first; he would have noticed it. I had always vowed to never take it off, nor the picture locket he had given me. To suddenly stop wearing it would give away that something was up with me, though I suppose he may have noticed long before I have, in retrospect. Either way, I slowly began to stop wearing both when I took showers and went to bed. I used to say that I wanted to protect the metal, which I am sure is rustproof on the citrine heart. I also used to say that I had made a childish claim, not thinking about the life of the necklaces, and to further extend their life, I wanted to not wear them at night. Plus, I was worried that wearing both at night may have been a choking hazard.
At least, that's what I told him when he first noticed and asked me about it. The first day I made the mistake of not wearing both, and claimed that it was accidental. I can just about take both off of my head at once, and said that I was in such a rush to take a shower that I must have not noticed.
My husband's old birthday gift to me was the first I stopped wearing. It was just too bulky, and while the citrine heart nagged at me more than the former, it was easier to stop wearing the picture locket. I had put it in a little heart shaped box I have. The jewelry box has a picture of two swans, delicate lake scenery, and other things engraved into it. It is silver, with dark blue velvet lining, and is about the size of my hand, maybe a bit larger. I got it as a gift from my mother when I was a young girl, and I took it as part of my possessions when I was an older teen. I hadn't many pieces to put into it or the other little jewelry dresser, so the box was rather empty. I dangled the necklace over the box, making sure it was straight, and then gently lowered it into the box. I felt some sort of sadness when I saw it in there, all alone, and quickly closed the box.
My husband had heard that noise, and he asked me what I had put into the box. I didn't notice him standing there, in our doorframe. I fumbled around for a lie, and as I did, he raised an eyebrow at me. I hardly ever lie to him. I don't even know if I had at all, before that happened. He didn't say anything, but the look he gave me
it kills me to remember. He wasn't completely distrusting, but he wasn't
well, blind and oblivious to my strange behavior, and his look told me that. He didn't pry into my business until I started not being at home, which I will get to later. For now, he just waited for my answer. I finally told him that I was starting to think the hinge on the necklace he gave me was about to go, and that the clasp wasn't working so well and sometimes fell open (well, only once or twice had that happened, and I know full well that those weren't accidental), so I decided to stop wearing it, unless it matched what I was wearing or it was an event. After all, the red and white design wasn't quite fitting for a grown woman anymore, and I had been working on my image more than before.
He asked me why I didn't get it fixed.
I told him that I didn't think it needed it yet. I'd wait for it to break before sending it to be fixed.
He raised an eyebrow, and seemed to deliberate how to proceed. He walked towards me, and while it was no more than normal pace, every step he took seemed to pound thunderously in my ears, and I was fearful that he would take the box from where it was on our dresser, open it, pull out the necklace, and shove it into my face, and tell me how much of a liar I was and demand the truth.
Instead, he walked past me, to his side of the room, and told me that he was going to be away for a few days.
I don't remember if I even asked why.
The citrine heart was a lot harder to stop wearing, but it was also a lot harder to continue wearing. It was like my red letter, its dimness starting to show a change in my emotions, and I was clearly not responding with my whole heart to anything he told me. Our dinners eventually became cold and distant ordeals for me. I was quiet. I withdrew into myself, and practically stopped going out of the house. I don't know if I knew what I was doing. Then one day, when he was out of the house, I realized that I had a chance to put the necklace away. He was spending more and more days away from the house, and honestly, I didn't blame him. I wouldn't want to be in the same house as me back then.
So, when he had been gone for a few hours, I unclasped and took off the citrine heart pendant. The light from it seemed to be nearly extinguished, and I was only holding it! It usually tried to shine brightly when I held it, even by the chain. I cupped my hand and draped the necklace around my hand. It went twice and a half, nearly wrapping around my hand three times. I felt scared when I looked at it like such. I debated opening it, afraid of what I could have found inside. Would it shine at least five times brighter than what it was, like usual? Or would it appear to be a dead, normal, nonmagical pendant that wasn't linked to my emotions?
I stared at it quite a bit, before taking long, hasty strides to my jewelry box, the one shaped like a dresser. It seemed so very far away, but, hands shaking, and a cry and a sob trying to escape my throat, I shoved the necklace into something and tried to hide it. I say "try", since it was both staring me back in the face at this very moment, and because I thought I had heard once that he carried it around with him when he was forced to be away from my side.
I cried on my bed for the next two days afterwards, working on piecing together a lie I would tell him about the necklace. I had told him that I lost it when I went for a stroll for a beach. I didn't look him in the eyes when I said it. I must have been in a daze before I had let myself go completely.
Anything after that point has become a distant blur. I only remember being incredibly volatile and being forced to stay into a saferoom for months, after I proved to be a threat to myself while I was on house arrest.
I don't even remember being on house arrest.
It felt like I was possessed by something else at the time. I may as well have been. I think that when I had asked my friends' mother to help me and forgive me, I may have asked her to make it a blur. Or maybe she did that on her own.
Or maybe I was just so far gone that it's a part of my life that I had lost.
Supposedly my husband would wait every day, outside my saferoom door, and just sit there. Waiting. He was waiting for me to come back. He was waiting for me to explain. He was waiting for me to ask for his forgiveness. I think I had several times, though I think we both were waiting for when I would give the life-changing one. Either way, I have been told that he wouldn't leave unless he made sure that someone else was watching me, and he was absolutely, positively, without a doubt, needed at work. No one knows if he even slept during that time.
And one of my friends had told me that he had told her that he carried the locket with him in his pocket. Supposedly it gave him an idea of my progress. Apparently whenever I would start to panic, the locket would flare up, compared to its otherwise dead state. I think it's how we were able to tell when I was well enough again to make amends with everyone I had hurt by my action, my revenge, my statement, and to seek forgiveness from those who had always thought better of me. By how brightly or consistently the locket had shined.
And now, I was staring at this reminder of my love for him. It wasn't shining nearly as strong as it used to. It didn't need a lot to help dim it when it was closed. But, it was glowing all the same. It was almost as beautiful as it used to be. I
I was amazed. Surprised. Shocked. Speechless. How could he have found this locket? Where could he have found it? I remember trying to search for it shortly after I had been released from my saferoom, and it was gone! Vanished into thin air. The words of my friends didn't register at all. I was too mesmerized by the sight of the orange-brown light.
When I had laid eyes on it and realized what it was, it glowed even brighter.
." I began, but my voice choked. I couldn't continue my sentence, try as I might. My throat was dry and cracked, my eyes were burning as tears began to force their way through. I couldn't think; I couldn't do anything. I just stared at it.
"I found it unworn one night," my husband began. I turned to look at him, unable to really comprehend what was going on. "It was on top of the larger jewelry box, and you never seemed to notice that it had been lying there the entire time. I pocketed it, waiting for the day when you would return."
And then he smiled at me. Oh God. It was the most beautiful smile that I had ever seen. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the glow intensify.
" I couldn't even fathom what I had done to deserve this kind of loyalty. Tears overflowed. I choked out sobs, and uncertain of what to do hug him, turn away, take back the locket, run away , I clasped my hands over my mouth, and cried. He embraced me, and while I think he may have been glad to have seen that my reaction was that, instead of something else, he apologized.
"Honey, please don't be upset." He stroked my hair, and I could have flinched. His kindness. His faith. His patience. It was all too much.
"I... I'm not. I am. I mean, how
how can I not?" I said between sobs into his shirt. He released me from the embrace to look at my face, though he kept me close, one arm around my back, the second in front of me, holding up the pendant.
"I kept it, as a reminder to me of what love you once possessed. I kept it as a way to have hope for the future. And I kept it, because I love you." He kissed me on the side of my head, softly, above my left eyebrow.
If I could have, I would have cried even more. But, tears of happiness, as I have learned, aren't meant to be spilled as freely as the others.
He held up the necklace, asking, "Should I help you put this on?"
I nodded. "Yes," I said through mumbled lips.
His arm left my side. I took a shaky, deep breath, and tried to steady my arms enough as I held up my hair a bit. I didn't have a chance to turn around. He drew the necklace close to me, and deftly closed the clasps together. His hands lingered on the back of my neck, both to make sure the necklace was secured, and because he wanted to.
I looked into his eyes. I could see nothing other than what I had taken for granted. I felt like I could see his love for me, shining in his eyes. I slowly wrapped my hands around his neck, and we stood there like that. He was waiting for me to go first, and I hung my head, blushing.
Thank you." Then, I pulled myself towards him and kissed him on his lips. I nestled my head between his shoulder and neck, and he rested his chin on top of my head. My entire body felt sensitive to his touches, and I didn't want to flinch or move away from him anymore.
I love you
for being so devoted to me."
My entire world was bright once again, just like the pendant around my neck. And I have promised, I have vowed, to never again take him for granted.