I have beads that I like to wear. Big, bold, red beads. There is nothing about them that is shy. I like the way they cling to my neck, just so, not quite a choker. I stand straighter when I wear them. I swagger when I walk, sashaying down the hall, hips swinging, lips painted dark red, a sound track playing in my head, something smoky and jazzy. They make me feel irrepressibly fashionable, maybe even a little French, Dutch definitely. I love these beads. They’re my transformative beads.
I went skating the other day and I remember removing them from my neck and placing them in a shirt and putting them down. And when I came home I knew instantly that I didn’t have them. Panic paralyzed me. I felt like screaming because I knew they were gone. Bereft. I never really knew what that word meant until I felt it and then I knew. Bereft. I was bereft. My beads have not re-appeared. I don’t think they will. They have been blown into the universe to serve on someone else’s neck.
My mom wore those the last time I took her to the cancer clinic. I watched as she got weighed in. Her formerly statuesque self small and shrunken. She leaned against the scale to keep upright. I saw those red beads glisten in the light and I remembered better times when she had worn them. Those netter times when she wore smart shirts with the buttons left open just so and big belts around her then womanly waist, sexy, with red beads around her neck. We came home from the clinic and she announced to everyone who passed her from the car port to her apartment that she was dying. And someone brought us a bottle of wine and we drank it while she wore those large bright red beads. Those happy beads. I loved those beads.