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Memories Secreted In Beads This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Behind the picture frames, certificates and figurines atop the highest shelf in my bedroom rests one of my most prized possessions. To many it may hold no real value, but it occupies a very sacred place in my heart.

My blessed rosary seems to hold a divine force. At times, that force seems to gleam through the tiny, protective box from the light streaming through my window. There are times after a difficult day when I feel I have nowhere else to turn but my rosary. I sit in my bedroom with it held gently in my hand and pray for my life to change, or at least for my day to get better.

As I journey through each prayer, I notice that the beads have a strong scent of roses, and that their color resembles the flower they are trying to imitate. The intricate designs on the golden cross give the rosary a unique quality, and I am reminded of the Bible stories I first heard as a child. It feels almost like silk slipping through my fingers when I touch it. Memories rush back and I am reminded of the weeks when I had to live without my mother.

For as long as I can remember, my mother had wanted to travel to Europe. Four years ago, she had the opportunity to go to Italy with my aunts and grandmother. As I finger each delicate crimson bead, I remember how much I missed her while she was gone, how I wished and prayed each night for her safe return. And as the rose scent fills my room, I remember just how long those two weeks felt.

The gold chain slips through my fingers as I recall the day when she finally walked through the door, holding her arms out to me. I felt as if I had so much to tell her about all the little things that had happened in my fifth-grade life, but then I realized there was so much more she could tell me about what she'd seen.

That first night, she told stories of the art, music, literature and monuments she had experienced. With each tale, she smiled as if she were recalling a joyful childhood memory, and I couldn't help but smile, too.

That night, after my sisters and I went to bed, my mother slipped into my room and placed the elegant, fragile rosary on my dresser. When I awoke, it immediately caught my eye and I rushed downstairs to ask her the story that lay behind her gift. She told me that this was no ordinary rosary, but one that I should cherish forever. It had been blessed by the Pope, she explained, and the beads dipped in rose perfume. I smelled it and visions of cobblestone streets filled my mind.

For now, those memories are stashed on my shelf and the rosary keeps its authentic divinity. Maybe some day I will pass this string of holy beads to the one I care most about, but for now, they are mine. From time to time, when I pray or sometimes just stare at it in wonder, I know I will always remember my mother and how much she means to me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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