The Princess has returned to the Princess. It has been a long time coming. Such melodrama when it was gone–I cried, I moped, I fell back in a swoon, I declared, “I will never have anything beautiful again!” I was convinced (by The Scientist) that the insurance company would never give us money for it, that they would find some reason not to–we were traveling, we had moved, we had warned them we were moving (how convenient it would seem to lose the most expensive thing we own days before canceling our insurance policy!)–and that I could just say goodbye to that small gleam of glamor that briefly graced my otherwise plebeian, unpolished finger.
I’ll confess that in the moments that I was sure The Scientist was wrong, I scoured the Tiffany website–just in case. I grew quite fond of the Tiffany Legacy–
I knew, however, knew as I switched back and forth between the Legacy and the Soleste, the Soleste and the Square Step, weighing their merits against each other, that The Scientist wasn’t wrong: whether or not the insurance policy was willing to pay out, it was likely the end of the diamond era for the Poor Princess. Even if the insurance were to send us a big old check with many zeroes on it, how much could we use that chunk of change? For food, for housing, for daycare? And how little for a (in the grand scheme of things) valueless rock which would do nothing more than suggest a wealth that we entirely lack?
[The evil Gagool in King Solomon’s Mines: “There are the bright stones that ye love, white men, as many as ye will; take them, run them through your fingers, eat of them, hee! hee; drink of them, ha! ha!” And then she traps them in the cave, and they realize it, these imperialist white guys who think they’ve put one over on the foolish African hag–she’s got them by the cojones. If only those diamonds were water, were bread, a tank of oxygen. Wise witch was she!!
Now–to begin at the beginning:
Picture it: a sunny, but windy day in a southern state on the Atlantic–
“Harry’s coming over! Pick up all the Lego!” The phone had rung a minute earlier and suddenly my mother is flying past me in her beachfront condo where I’ve been staying for about an eternity, clad in nightie and half-pulled-up pants. She’s grabbing the breakfast plates off the table with the hand not holding up her pants, she’s kicking Lego into a corner of the living room, she’s yelling at my father to do twelve other things–“Hurry up! Harry’s coming! He’s going to take our extra modem so that he can get internet in his condo, too” (this is how old people think) “–so tidy up! Tidy up!”
I retreat into my bedroom with the boys. We need to get ready for Shabbos lunch at Babi and Zaidy Frummy’s, and I know if I stay in the common area, I’ll end up getting into an argument about how internet works. Or maybe I’m just too lazy to help clean.
After the arrival and departure of Harry, followed by the second arrival and departure of Harry (the borrowed modem didn’t suddenly bring internet into Harry’s home), I emerge with LL, Cool J, and Baby MoFo, just about ready to be off. All I need is my rings. I look on the kitchen table, where I had, the previous evening, slipped off my rings before bed. The table was bare.
“Where are my rings?”
The hunt begins. We look on the table. We look under the table. The bedrooms. The bathrooms. The kitchen. Between couch cushions. Under the couch. In the box of Legos. In drawers. In the baby’s poo.
My rings are gone.
I am baffled. Laughing, I ask, “What–did you shake out the tablecloth on the balcony when Harry said he was coming over?”
It didn’t actually occur to me that she did.
My parents’ condo is on the 21st floor.
My mother turns white.
And so the hunt changes course. We search on the balcony. We search on the neighbors’ balconies. We search on the awning, in the garden, on the driveway, on the road. We search and we search. But we find nothing.
The rings had disappeared.
We searched until we collapsed. We searched until day day turned to night. We were scratched up from the thorns in the garden, we were dirty from digging through the soil with our fingers, and we were dispirited. As I stepped into my room that night, I turned back to look at my parents–I was devastated, they were devastated–and I said, “Well, they’re gone. There’s nothing more to do.”
The story should end here.
But it doesn’t. Because about 28 hours after they were flung from the tablecloth’s edge off the 21st-story balcony, my rings reappeared. My dad, who saw his little girl, her eyes full of tears, her lips atremble, her sighs audible, and who, therefore, could not, no matter what, give up, was making slowly widening concentric circles around his building when he spied this:
What’s that? You can’t see anything? Have a closer look:
And if one lost ring could be found, surely–
My gleam of glamor!
Gagool, you will laugh at me, but I’m quite pleased with this story’s end. 28 hours to find, 3 months to repair, and here it is.
Now, I just have to keep it away from balconies (and toilets and garbage disposals and Baby MoFo . . .).