Of Amethysts & Morality Tales
Episode 01:30:2023 - Prompt: Adornment
Where adornment took me…
One of the pleasures of writing short is figuring out which stories serve the format. Some stories require more words to be told. Some are perfectly suited for flash (micro, short) nonfiction. Maybe you’re sensing this as you think about a story you’ll share in the Comments section below.
I came up with three possible stories about adornment over the weekend (hair, tattoos, jewelry). As I played them out in my mind, I realized only one works in the container of a short, short story.
Which leads me to an admission of theft…
Thanks for reading That Place You Love! Subscribe for free and get involved.
I was an easy liar as a child, but I was no thief.
I had personal attachment to items of adornment, like my turquoise Gloria Vanderbilt corduroys and a pair of rhinestone combs that always fell out of my hair, but I didn’t want things I didn’t have.
O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi (1905) tells the story of a couple who doesn’t have enough money to buy each other Christmas gifts. Each goes out to sell the one precious thing they have in order to afford a present for the other. What they bought no longer has use, it turns out, because of what they sold to get it.
We read this story in school to learn a lesson…
Wanting what you don’t have will not bring you happiness.
I was at the home of a close friend when I did it. We were thirteen or fourteen and spent all of our time together. Humor was our connection, making each other laugh.
In that we were equals.
As we moved into the larger social circles of our school, I became aware of a real difference between us. Wealth. The kind of wealth where you’re not aware of what you own. My friend had a box of jewelry she never wore, including a pair of amethyst studs set in gold.
And I took them.
When I look back, I can’t recall any thinking behind my actions. I had not cased the joint or imagined these precious gems in my ears. I could have put them back any time – my friend never noticed them missing – but it would have required acknowledging why I did it. And I couldn’t. I still can’t.
The earrings never adorned another ear, and our friendship faded over time.
YOUR TURN: Using ADORNMENT as a theme, write about your relationship to ornamentation. Don’t worry about being a “good writer”. Just get that sucker out in 150 words (basically the section above where I tell you about stealing the earrings).
POST YOUR STORY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.
Click the HEART when you read anyone’s post. Heart = Heard. Don’t comment on my or other people’s stories. For more about the rules & intention of this Zine, check the About page. Any questions, bring them up in the Forum.
I am no eco-warrior, but I am devoted to avoiding disposable plastic. My deodorant comes in a cardboard tube like those push pops we used to get as kids. I use chewable tablets from a small paper sack instead of toothpaste in a tube and buy cooking staples from bulk stores in the same paper bags I filled the first time I shopped there. Our pantry is largely stocked with those items decanted into mason jars, and only a few things I cannot find package free. Where I fail is identifying as a bluehead. I have had blue hair on and off for over 30 years, and that's how everyone here has ever known me. The one time I tried going back to my natural dark brown hues was literally jarring so while I do not think of myself as a vain woman, I do require that one little plastic pot.
Until I turned sixty, the most radical thing I'd done to or put on my body was the bright-yellow-with-red-circles, hip-hugger bell bottoms I made when I was fourteen. We all learned to sew, us girls in junior high during the late sixties, because we were required to take home economics. The first half of the year was cooking. The second half, sewing. The boys had wood shop and mechanics. Never the twain met--girls weren't allowed to take shop, and no boy who didn't want to get laughed out of the school asked to take home ec. So I learned to sew and cook and, always, to be A Good Little Girl who aspired to grow up to be A Good Wife. Which was all the good it did me. My first marriage lasted only six years and I was the one who left. So turned the Good Little Girl into something for which there is no name but is known, simply, as Herself. When Herself approached her sixtieth birthday, she decided she needed a tattoo. Maybe she remembered how delicious it felt to wear those ridiculous pants. So we, Herself and I, had a three-inch long and 2-inch wide quill pen tattooed on the left shoulder. We were so proud of Ourselves. We still are.