Words Count 493
Memories in Silver
By Josh McMullen
Joy could see her reflection in the silver locket she held in her hand, and for some reason, she felt safe. It had been given to her eight years prior by Gabriel as a birthday present, and she had mistaken it for a ring at first when she opened the box.
It had been inscribed with the date of their first date which, coincidentally, became their wedding day. She remembered he was 45 minutes early and spent the intervening time chatting up her parents. They went to the movies and enjoyed a nice dinner where a floating musician played her favorite song, a line of which wound up inscribed on the back of the locket (“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers…”)
Of course, the ring came soon after, two years after the locket. Gabriel had managed to hide it from her in the days before the wedding – Joy had spent most of the last two days before tearing her apartment apart looking for it – and gave it to her with a new adornment just before the ceremony: a diamond and a peridot (their birthstones). Somehow, she resisted actively crying for fear of ruining her makeup, at least until they said “I do.”
Another diamond came a year later, at the birth of their child, a daughter named Sarah Grace. It would turn out to be their only child, through no fault of their own nor the doctors’. She hurt for a while, especially when looking at the locket. Seeing this, Gabriel put the first pictures that had ever been in the locket: one was the two of them looking into each others’ eyes at their wedding and on the other side, the first picture of their daughter.
The pictures would change several times over the years: Gabriel’s graduation from West Point, followed by Sarah’s baptism, and many, many more. She was expecting so many more pictures to hold right to her heart, but then the call from Uncle Sam beckoned.
At first, they sent Gabriel to Fort Drum to train soldiers fresh out of boot camp. Then, on a rainy Tuesday afternoon while he was on leave, he was sent a message requiring him to report to his base commander immediately for deployment. There was no getting around it: he was going away for quite a while.
They stood at the bus terminal for quite a while, mainly because Joy seemed to be welded to Gabriel’s waist the entire trip there. She cried until she ran out of tears, then cried some more. Just before the bus arrived, Gabriel handed him the locket once more, imploring her to open it. She did so, and found two pictures: one from their first date and the other of the two of them holding hands, walking away from the camera.
Joy could see her reflection in the silver locket she held in her hand, and for reasons she now knew, she felt safe.