When I was four years old I made a jewelry box out of ribbon and duct tape and beads and glitter. It was the first thing I had ever accomplished on my own. Later in my life, I put a ring made of a dollar bill inside of the box. I loved the way the ruby red heart on the ring reflected the red glitter on the box. The ring was from my very first boyfriend in the sixth grade. As the year went on, I added a photo strip of Jonathan and me to the box. It was taken in a photo booth on the night of my first kiss. I loved the way his deep green eyes matched the emerald grass on the left edge of the box. As I entered my last year of middle school, I met a boy who I thought I loved. He gave me a beautiful pair of pearl earrings on our four month anniversary. I didn’t mind the plastic shine of the pearls. I still loved the way the rosy pink string on which the pearls were placed echoed the pink ribbons glued messily to the top of the box. Once high school started, I fell in love for real. Max and I dated for a year. He bestowed many treasures upon me but I saved only one in my jewelry box. It was the night of Valentines Day and I couldn’t find words to describe my love. Max found words. He wrote them to me in a love letter with a poem at the end. I cried tears of happiness as I placed it in my jewelry box and didn’t take time to notice where I put it. I figured it would be there among the past symbols of relationships gone. I thought Max’s love letter would be the last token I’d receive from any guy. I thought that until he kissed Melrose Crafts at a party. I buried my jewelry box and all its contents deep deep deep into the soil of my backyard and added nothing through high school or college. One morning, I was delivering coffee for my boss at Roxie Girl magazine. Chris bumped into me and spilled hot coffee over my new blouse. He never replaced it. I went home and found a package at my door. It was my jewelry box my mom found when she was planting flowers. I put it under my bed and refused to look inside, trying to shield myself from painful memories. The next day at work, Chris was leaning at my desk with roses. We went out for lunch and I could feel something inside me click. Now, for the eight years we’ve been married I look at my little jewelry box often and recall all my little loves. I never add anything Chris gives me because I know that above all the materialistic things, I have his heart.
Proof of the Real Deal
February 27, 2010