Matilda hadn’t told her sister that she lost the necklace. That was something she held onto all these years despite them being so close. It had been Granny’s necklace and they had both wanted it so badly but in the end Matilda was given the necklace while Jackie had taken the matching bracelet and ring. Both sisters had been happy with the gift Granny gave to them except Matilda’s happiness would be short lived.
20 years ago:
“Matty, I told you it was fine,” said Jackie, holding her arm out to admire the shining bracelet and sparkling ring on her finger. Jackie really hadn’t wanted the bracelet but in the end she had seen the look on Matilda’s face and that had said it all. Matilda loved the necklace.
“Jackie, I just don’t want you to be mad. I mean I love it but if this is going to cause any sort of bad feelings it really isn’t worth it to me. You’re my best friend and I’d give it up if that is what you really wanted.”
“Matty, it’s fine. Someday we can wear them and admire each other wearing our shiny pieces. If Granny is happy then I am happy,” Jackie said.
Matilda and Jackie sat on the edge of the bed, admiring their new jewelry and feeling so loved as Granny watched them in the reflection of her makeup table mirror. They were such good girls, Granny thought to herself. She was so happy that she had something to leave to both of them.
“You know girls, your grandpa gave me that set the year we bought this house. Your mom was just a little girl and we didn’t have much money but he must have saved all of his drinking money because he bought the whole set!” Granny smiled.
“Granny, what do you mean by his drinking money?” Matilda asked.
Granny laughed out loud. “I used to give your grandpa an extra dollar a week that he could use to go have a beer on Friday with the guys from work. Back then beer was cheap and that would last the whole night!”
Jackie looked first at Matilda and then at Granny. Smiling, she said, “Granny, if mom gave us a dollar it wouldn’t even barely buy a soda at the convenient store!”
“Times have changed girls, that’s for sure.” Granny looked down at her hands and a tear trickled down her cheek as she remembered her wonderful husband and how he had spoiled her. It had been six years that he’d been gone and it never seemed to get easier.
As Matilda straightened her hair in the bathroom she looked at her reflection and thought that Granny’s necklace would have matched her outfit perfectly. It hadn’t been a fancy necklace or a diamond but it had this shimmering stone in the center that caught all the light and just sparkled. It had been the perfect length so it sat right between her collar bones. Granny would have been so disappointed to know that the necklace Grandpa had given her was gone and Matilda really had no idea where it could be.
Putting the negative thoughts aside, Matilda vowed to search for a necklace that looked just like the one Granny had given her, then when she saw Jackie for Christmas she would never have to tell Jackie the original was gone. Jackie wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyhow, as long as it looked the same.
At the same time Jackie had been sitting on the side of her bed thinking about the upcoming holidays. What was she going to buy her sister this year? This was always such a struggle, trying to find the perfect gift. For years they used to think of a theme so they could at least have some idea of what to buy each other. Matilda said she had no more ideas left and that they didn’t even have to exchange gifts, as long as they saw each other. But Jackie loved seeing Matty’s face when she opened her gifts. It could be the smallest thing or something cheap and Matilda would beam as if it was a golden egg!
Suddenly, Matilda had an idea. If she went down to the flea market she could look for a matching necklace and try to find something to give to Jackie. She always tried to give Jackie something they could laugh about. Like the one year she bought her a new baby doll and a pregnancy test from the dollar store! Jackie thought the doll was adorable but threw the box with the test in it back at Matilda. “Matty,” she had said, “If you want to be an aunt so bad then find me Mr. Right!” Her and Jackie had laughed and laughed about that one.
Stepping into the small walk-in closet, Matilda reached for the string to turn on the light. It was only a small bulb but it was enough for her to see which shoes she wanted to wear. Bending over she reached for the leather boat shoes and at that moment something caught her eye. She threw the shoes out of the closet onto the bedroom floor and got down on her hands and knees to see what that thing was sticking up between the rug and the baseboard of the closet. Sucking in her breath she realized what it was.
Matilda held the necklace in her hand like it was a new born baby, she felt like it was that special. How had it gotten in the closet and why hadn’t she ever seen it while cleaning before? Backing out of the closet she sat down on the rug near the boat shoes. Relief seemed to wash over Matilda and she was feeling like she was on the verge of tears. This was Granny’s necklace! This was the necklace that grandpa had spent all of his money on to buy for Granny and now she would never have to tell Jackie how she carelessly lost it. Using her thumbnail to open the tiny clasp, Matilda reached behind her neck to put the necklace on. It was so tiny she could barely feel it touching her skin but at that moment the sun shone through the window and the stone sparkled, just like it had sparkled all those years ago when Granny had given it to her. Matilda smiled with relief. Looking up toward Heaven Matilda quietly said, “Thanks for finding it for me Granny. I’m sorry I lost it but I will never lose it again!”