A low-melting alloy used for joining less fusible metals

Christmas market on French-German border (Saarbrücken), '12

Christmas market on French-German border (Saarbrücken), ’12

When Ginger gets up in the morning and first stands she looks like a newborn fawn touching down, the legs wobbly, on stilts. But I don’t stretch, it’s the discomforts of my past I remember in my joints, stumbling down the steps in a German subway in lederhosen, shoes a half size too big.

Mom has a special ring she wanted to fix so we took it to the nearby jewelry store and they studied the break but it’s not clean, it’s a hard fix, it needs a brace with the solder.

The jeweler is white, bald, wearing a tie and an apron and his hands are cold like ice, he says, always that way.

He studies the ring under the microscope and I realize one of his fingers is missing a digit, the ring finger.

He explains it’s a bad cast, something made it porous on one side of the break. Mom tells him it’s really important to her, and what can he do to fix it.

They take an image of the diamond, its unique DNA, and have my mom sign for it but the jeweler’s assistant calls us over to look in the microscope: there’s a bubble trapped in the middle of the gem and it reflects like a kaleidoscope off each of the faces, beautiful—

and later we get a tree and drive it home, we stand it up and string out the lights and the kids come down to decorate it but some of the ornaments are from my mom’s last house in Pennsylvania and it’s too hard for her to look at them.

It makes me wonder about the nature of grief and how we store it or if we even should, if it’s something you need to process instead, to let it pass through—

and as my kids hang the ornaments I watch them from the love seat in the corner, a bubble trapped inside the middle of a stone reflecting off the faces, the glass balls and branches, the lights and what’s there, between us.

Categories: death, musings

Tags: , , ,

20 replies

  1. this is beautiful, bill. so much symbolism and love and loss trapped in that bubble.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. For various reasons, it’s been a few years since Christmas has been at my parents house. When my kids were younger (my Jewish kids because my wife is Jewish) they would spend the weekend at my mom’s house early in December each year and help her decorate the tree. And when we’d go there for dinner Christmas Eve, the lights and tinsel and ornaments (most of them from my childhood and even before) … and just how the tree glittered in the corner of their living room. You got this right.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll have that image in mind of the jeweler with a missing digit for quite a while. It’s one of those “there’s a story there” pictures.


    • I know, right! Weird when you walk into something like that. I don’t have enough trust yet like you do, to make stuff up. I think I’m mesmerized by how much material is out there in everyday life without the need to fictionalize. He reminded me of a praying mantis for some reason. And truly bizarre it’s the ring finger.


  4. I always wondered how jewelers handle that, leaving something as valuable as a diamond with no proof or claim. (Also, I am always apologizing for ice cold hands. I try to make a joke of it, but it’s embarrassing.) That sounds neat to see a diamond through a microscope and discovering a bubble. I like how you tied it with the christmas tree later. I’m sorry about your mother’s grief. I guess it never leaves entirely no matter what we do but becomes part of us. Her spending time with you and your family sounds wonderful.


    • Hey thanks for the note about the grief Kristen, appreciated. It’s a great time we’re having, though you’ve got the occasional ups and downs as you know, and so eloquently put on your post today. Bill


  5. A bubble in a diamond. Now that’s material to chew on. Curious, though: is a bubble considered a flaw or an asset?


  6. Agreed with earlier comments. Except: that first paragraph seems to be going off on its own, wearing Lederhosen.


  7. It’s all about those Christmas lights my man ;).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This really is lovely Bill. That way you use the bubble to reflect the meaning of the ring, of the Christmas decorations, of the way you sit amid the people you love, reflecting all of that love back, all the memories being made and stored. Wow. Truly, very lovely.
    And you’re right – some objects just hold too much of our past, it becomes too painful to look at them, yet we can’t let them go. It seems nostalgia builds and builds as you age, nowhere you can go to escape it

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nicely written. I like the bubble in the diamond – begs the question: what is perfection?


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