My Mother’s Earring

When my mother passed away, amongst the items of jewellery my father gave me was a pair of earrings.  I loved them and remembered what they meant to my mother.  I cherished the idea of wearing them in my ears.  A small, constant reminder of her.

The posts, however, were long and they would ram into the tender spot behind my ear, so I made the decision to have them altered.  My jeweller removed the posts and attached little shepherds hooks.

I wore them with pride.  I could feel them jangling in my ears and thought of my mother every time my hand reached up and played with them, which was often.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

One morning while putting on my make up, getting ready to head off to work, I noticed only one earring, the left one.  My right ear lobe was devoid of adornment.  It was winter and I’d dressed for work in the dark not wanting to wake my husband.  Dean had been working night-shifts and I didn’t like interrupting his sleep.

After putting on the earrings, I’d gone to the kitchen before heading into the bathroom.  I retraced my steps, small torch in hand, but couldn’t see the earring anywhere; it wasn’t caught in my clothing either.

Devastated, I took out the one earring and put it away.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

When I arrived home that afternoon I turned half the house upside down – the half I’d been in before noticing the earring missing.  I ransacked the cupboard where I kept my jewellery, I vacuumed the carpet and sifted the contents of the vacuum bag, I cried, I pulled my hair – then I cried some more.  But no matter what I did, nor where I looked, I couldn’t find it.

Heartbroken, I placed the remaining treasured earring in my jewellery box with a silent promise to my mother that one day I would find it, and if not, I’d ask my jeweller to make another exactly the same.

As time passed, I stopped looking.  Tucked away, in the back corner of my jewellery box, the earring became forgotten and the fate of its partner no longer the focus of my attention.  Another pair of earrings were elevated to the status of favoured daily lobe adornment.

It would be five years before a bizarre series of events bought the earring back to the forefront of my attention.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

On a beautiful, bright, sunny winter’s day, Dean and I found ourselves playing tourists in Sydney.  There for the weekend, Dean wanted to retrace the footsteps of his youth and visit Taronga Zoo.  As we walked along, he pulled a thread on these shorts and a button fell off.

Not just any button, a large one, one I thought I would never be able to match.  I send him scurrying after the button and it was placed in my pocket for safekeeping.  When we returned home to Brisbane, I’d sew it back on.

Alas though, I completely forgot about the button and placed our washing in the machine without checking any pockets – who does that anyway?  I can only guess that, if the button was indeed still in my pocket, the washing machine gratefully accepted it as payment for services rendered.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

I was disappointed with myself, but at least I had a secret stash of buttons for just such emergencies.  Nothing like the cookie jar sized bottle my mother had had when I was a little girl.  My mother’s bottle contained buttons of every size, shape, colour, and style.  There was one fit for any purpose, shirt, skirt, waistline or sleeve cuff.  There were multiple groups of several buttons, each the mirror image of others, always ensuring the same four, five, or six could be used on the same item of clothing.

My button collection, by comparison, was sad, incapable of holding a candle to the example my mother has set.

It consisted solely of spares that had been supplied with new clothing.  Those revered little ‘extras’ fixed to price tags in tiny little zip-locked plastic packets.  I had a little crystal vase, part of a duchess set, into which I’d place them and surely somewhere in that vase there would be a button big enough but not too fancy, and suitable for above the zipper on a pair of men’s shorts.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

Cotton, scissors and thread at hand, I upended the contents of the little vase onto the kitchen table.  Some buttons were still in their plastic packets, others were not, so I spread my pitiful collection thin across the table to better assess their suitability.

Something shiny caught my eye and I pushed the packets aside to get a better look.

I picked it up and felt a chill creep along with my blood as I looked at a little earring, a love knot dangling from a shepherds hook.  My mother’s earring. I knew I’d put it away for safekeeping.  How did it get into my little vase of buttons?

I quickly went to put it back where it belonged and, as I opened my jewellery box, I couldn’t comprehend what I was looking at.

The other earring tucked away inside, exactly where I had placed it five years previously.

The joy at finding the missing treasure was painfully overwhelming and I remember crying.  If the truth be known, I sobbed uncontrollably, and from that day to this, I still have no idea how that earring came to be amongst the collection of spare buttons in my little crystal vase.

All of this was meant to happen, all events played out exactly as they were meant to, each step, one after the other, so I could find my mother’s earring.

My Mother’s Earrings

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

I believe everything happens for a reason.

The weather in Sydney during winter was warmer than normal allowing Dean to wear a pair of shorts the day we went to the zoo.  He was meant to pull a thread on his shorts that caused the button to fall off.  I was meant to put my jumper in the wash without emptying the pockets so I’d go looking for another button.  I was meant to upend the contents of my little crystal vase where I stowed spare buttons from new clothing.

That vase lived in the back left-hand corner of a shelf in my cupboard and I still cannot explain how the earring came to be there after I missed putting the hook through the hole in my right ear lobe.

Author: Clare

Ever-expanding one star at a time, my cosmos is a galaxy of thoughts and creativity where you can find poetry, short stories, photography and so much more.

6 thoughts

  1. I love this line: “I vacuumed the carpet and sifted the contents of the vacuum bag” – it gets the desperation of that moment across so well. Nicely done!


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