There was a period of time when my brother gave very extravagant presents. He was far enough out of college to have a nice job with a good salary, and not far enough out of college to have any real financial obligations. The days of bounty didn't last long; he got married and the extravagance stopped, expensive gifts usurped by mortage payments, down payments on sofas and college funds for children.
The last lavish gift I received from him was a pair of pearl earrings. Real pearls, the kind that seem to glow. I always felt pretty when I wore them.
I keep the jewelry I wear often in a Waterford crystal ring holder - another bounty days gift from my brother - that sits on my bedside table. Two years ago, when The Boy was just learning to walk and reaching for handholds, he swept everything off the table, and I lost one of the pearl earrings.
I looked everywhere; over things, under things, inside things, behind things, but the earring never turned up.
When we were burglarized, one of the things the burglar did was pull out the drawer where I keep all my not-so-frequently-worn jewelry and dump it on the bed. And when I was cleaning it all up, there, glowing softly, was the missing pearl earring.
I have no idea how it came to be in the drawer. At first, I thought it must be the remaining earring, but a quick check revealed the ring holder completely untouched. My pearls were together again. I marveled at how out of something bad came something good. The earrings meant more to me than anything the burglar pilfered. I put the newfound pearl in the crystal ring holder.
Two days later, we had an alarm system installed. To reach the bedroom window, they had to move the night table, and the ring holder got knocked over, and the jewelry in it scattered. Crawling on the floor with a flashlight, I managed to find everything that had been in it. Everything except one pearl earring.