She kept a stone in her pocket. A black stone, cold to the touch, but it fit her palm as if moulded just for her. In times of indecision, she ran her thumb over the flat surface discerning the small crevices and bumps, angulations eyes could not see, but touch could memorise. Intuitively, the surface's rises and falls represented life’s journeys, the everyday ups-and-downs, and scars, and struggles. Touching was usually enough to soothe her worries, one large Zen bead, or single Rosary bead.
Occasionally, she needed to see the stone; to believe it existed. On those arduous days, sitting elbows on knees, moving this touched connection, this weight, from hand to hand, she’d view the depth of the black colour with its subtle contrast of weathered-white speckles. Doing so brought the piece into reality; making it more than something connected only by emotion, or something only ethereal. She had trust in the magic of this rock. This stone delivered to her at her mother's funeral, when the pastor's random pull from an amethyst bag, placed the smooth weight into her hand. She needed to see it, for it to be real, on those lonely doubt-filled days, the rock got her through.
She rolled the stone over, her eyes mesmerised by the gold engraved cursive. It couldn’t be wrong. It was her mother’s last word, the only unanswered question, answered by a rock placed in her hand, a smooth stone that had seen her through several storms, a gem that spoke to her by feel, and could bring the warmth and pure earthy smell of her mother’s love to her as if by magic—a beautiful black stone with a single, now tarnished, gold word—dream. She read the gold cursive word that she had poured her money into, lost family over, had worked her fingers to the bone to earn. It had to—no—must be; real. If it weren’t, then she’d have nothing.
That was the day she laid aside the expectations. She let out the breath she had been holding within, with all her might, for all her life. It was the end, acting as the end always does, as a disguised beginning.
She believed beyond reason because if it existed, all her dreams would transform into reality as tangible as this touchstone looked, and felt, and smelled. Faith in the pebble in her pocket fed the hunger of her dream.
She slipped the treasured gem back into her pocket — the weight a subtle reminder to ground herself. With a new glimmer of onyx inspiration, she slid behind the keyboard and began the novel, yet again. Knowing beyond any self-doubt, the rock in her pocket would see her through.
“When do you think she will believe in herself as much as she believes in that dark abyss of a rock she carries?” her deceased grandmother asked.
“Knowing her, not until that rock is dust,” her deceased mother responded. With that, they both picked up their pickaxes and chipped away at the crevices. Each swings’ corresponding chime, creating a song along a nerve, which arrived in their loved one’s brain, tap by loving tap, when silent, she heard—It’s not the rock, baby; it’s you. Believe in you
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This touches home a little for me, being Native American and working with medicine bags and stones. Very good story.
Thank you. There is a power in nature and all religions and cultures use elements go remind us of our strengths. Thank you for connecting. Respectfully, C.L. Steele