In an attempt to meet today’s Prompt, from storyaday.org by Julie Duffy, I did go to the thrift store as the prompt suggested. I didn’t find anything there particularly mysterious, but looking at all the costume jewelry gave me an idea that I decided to run with. The necklace described in this story is fictional, but it could be something you’d find in a thrift store, and that’s where it ends up.
Trigger warning: mention of sexual assault, and a drug bust.
The necklace had been in the family for three generations, now going on its fourth. Silver chain with green and white beads, and a large flat pearl charm dangling from the center. Costume jewelry– nothing exceptional.
Not according to Grandma, though. I’d heard the stories many times: Her mother wore the necklace when she met her future husband; Grandma wore it the day she got her job as a legal aide; Mom gave a graduation speech in it, and was offered a full scholarship to MIT the same night. The necklace was lucky, special, probably with magical properties. “You be sure to wear it sometimes, just in case.”
“Sure, Grandma,” I’d reply every time. Nevermind the possibility that you all might have been truly amazing women who achieved those things by your own merit. But it would have served nothing to argue with her.
I wore the necklace to my first Prom, because it went well with my dress. My boyfriend/date ditched me for another girl. I cried for days, but when I learned that he’d assaulted her that night I knew I’d dodged a bullet.
I wore it to a house party in college; I left early with a stomach ache, and so wasn’t at the house when cops came and broke things up and arrested three people for possession of cocaine.
After that, I started to believe in my grandma’s superstition. I wore the necklace more and more– even bought more clothes specifically to match. I wore it to my first post-graduation job interview; I bombed the interview, but on the way home that night a friend called me and told me about an opening in her department. I took that job, and that was where I met my boyfriend who’s been with me for the last thirteen years. I wore the necklace when we conceived our daughter; she’s the best thing in my life, even though at the time I was really stressed out about being pregnant and raising a child.
But is it really the necklace doing it all? Maybe my life would have turned out exactly the same without it. Lots of people succeed in life without a “magic charm.” I’ve decided to listen to my fifteen-year-old self and put this silliness behind me. It’s just a necklace– old-fashioned and chipped in a few places. Grandma would throw a fit if she knew I was planning to thrift it, but she’s not here anymore to object; and if there’s an afterlife, then surely she’s come to her senses by now.
I don’t need luck anymore, anyway; I already have everything I need. Better to pass it on, if it really is lucky. Not to my daughter, though: she doesn’t need to live with the ridiculous notions like I did. I’ve taught her to believe in herself, not in a piece of jewelry.
Whoever picks it up next will never know its history, either; but maybe they’ll create some memories of their own when they wear it.