My mother pulls the wooden box out from under her sink and there is the necklace I had been looking for all year. A small jeweled bird on a branch, sitting at the end of a gold chain.
The necklace looks the same as it did back when she wore it except the chain is now bunched up in a box. It is used to being on a neck, one neck, my mother’s neck. She stares at it for a moment and shuts the lid so that the little bird is no longer visible to us. Then she places it back in the bathroom drawer.
My mother’s neck is now bare.
I sometimes imagine an outline of the branch still on her collarbone. It is small, with a gold reflection. But I know it is made up, all in my head. It is not real.
I once wore a gold necklace, with three small birds at the end. It was given to me as a present in Istanbul by a man I loved and looked like the gold necklace my mother wore, the one given to her by my father. My mother now wears a silver heart pendant around her neck, and I a small purple thread tied tight. All four birds are put away, hidden. Mine is in the bottom right drawer of a craigslist desk. Hers, now inside a Georgia storage bin. It once was in a drawer itself.
Both necklaces were gifts, but my mother’s necklace came first and is perhaps why I first loved my own birds. My mother’s once represented love.
Now, the bird is the only piece of my father she has kept.
Sophia Reichert is a senior at Brown University studying English Nonfiction and Educational Studies. Her previous publications can be found in NoiseMedium and Phoebe Journal.