A piece of diamond that has slowly made its way for millions of years through the layers of rocks that enfolded it. Eventually it comes within a few hundred feet of the red laterite soils of a tropical land, off the coast of West Africa, in a country that was to be named Sirra Leone. A perfect piece of carbon, hardened in a crucible of fire, with a tinge of yellow denying perfection to this stone. I am that stone. Today I rest in a circle of gold on the wedding fingers of a woman who takes delight in me, flashing me off to her circle of female friends who giggle for the most part with feigned joy. From my comfortable location I can see the gleam of envy in their tired wives's eyes, even though that glimmer of subdued emotions, on the negative side has little in comparison with my glitter when light strikes my perfect cut at the appropriate angles. The cut, oh yes, my cut that is another story. Before I tell you about that let me tell you of my journey from the red soils of a sun drenched land of sorrow and misery to the fat fingers of a discerning lady of social standing, in this frigid land. I am presently for the most domiciled in Maine; Bangor, Maine to be exact, if you care to ask.
I was comfortable in my red soil, where I had lain just below the surface for along time. I only started taking note of time when I was exposed after one heavy tropical downpour that eroded the slight slope wherein I had lain beyond time; human time that is, and was actually gradually being drawn (working my way to the top, I personally would say) to the surface by the forces sculpting the landscape. When this tropical downpour unceremoniously awakened me to a struggle without much success against a virtual tidal pool of muddy stream, sweeping everything before it.
I came to rest, conspicuously on a mud plain, where a couple of days in the hot sun, I thought I was mud caked and covered well enough to fall asleep for another period of time. It must have been the noisy rattle of the old truck engines that probably jerked me awake, but I was awake, watching with a knowingness that my destiny was about to change, when I saw grubby, brown hands digging through the mud looking for what I later concluded was stones just like me. As fate would have it, I was picked up by one grubby old hand, who cackled with a short lived joy as he showed me to the others; others, who I concluded without much thought to be diamond predators. He tossed me after showing me around to that motley collection of bedraggled men with a meanness that even I could feel in my stony heart. After many days spent in a dark leathery pouch, with a few others of my ilk, we were brought out into the light; the light of huricane lamps, tottering from age and over use, in a mud hut where one at a time we were weighed on a very old scale and divided into rough quality grades. It was while in this hut that I realized that we were the fortunes of a terrible atrocity meted out against the innocent for our imbued values. While on a side table in that terrible hut. I heard the cries of the innocents being butchered, I heard the rebel leaders making decisions of what level of atrocity to upgrade to and hard to forget, even after all these years, the cries of hungry children. I must have have been here for probably a week. Into the second week, it would seem, we were (the brotherhood of uprooted stones, I had by this time was referring to the motley collection of rough diamonds) placed back in another dirty leathery pouch and sold to a buyer. He was a middle man who took us on a long journey to the big city where we were taken by canoe to boats anchored off shore and taken on a sea journey for several weeks, which time we spent in a leather French business bag. In Antwerp, Belgium where I ended up after a long road trip from whichever port those smugglers managed to sneak us in, in the night, it was all night to me given that the French business bag was never opened all this while, but we diamonds we feel the changes in light.
After subdued business chatter in a well apportioned diamond buyers office in Antwerp I was bought by a Jewish diamond cutter, who took instant liking for me. This man had a son in the United States about to marry the girl of his heart. His father decides that I was the perfect stone to grace the fingers of the daughter in law. He held me in his hand for a long time the first day, then day after day, he would pick me up from the lot and hold me firmly in his grip as if passing on a part of his essence to me. It must have been on the thirteenth day that he set me on the cutting board, determined look on his face and with expert hands struck the first blow, it was to be a long agonizing process, during which days of shaping and cutting, much as I appreciated the new look I was getting, silently revolted at being cut so cruelly. Ah!, beauty has its costs, after two weeks of constant, slow and precise work, the master cutter had crafted me into a perfect diamond of 25 carats worth, one that was admired by all and sundry. I guess some would have made good offers for me, but I was marked out for the hands of lady in far away United States of America. He would show me off to his circle of friends, proudly proclaiming; “This is my son's wedding stone”. They always said “stone”, these cutters, as if speaking in terms that only those in the known could use. Evenutally a white circle of gold was prepared, wrought in an intricate design, in whose center I took an honored position. Yeah, me and that piece of gold, we took to each other like fish and water, as if unconsciously acknowledging that we belong together.
Placed in the confines of rich velvet, carefully laid in a black box, of wood, not plastic, I noted. The time had come for me to be taken, first class, on Swissair, that now defunct carrier of royalty. Thirteen hours, thirty thousand feet, above the wide Atlantic glimmering far below the silver bullet bodied plane, we touched down in New York's La Guardia, where my courier, a noble nosed fella of great presence bore me with pride to a mansion many hours ride from the Airport, there I came eye to eye (of course you could say “eye to stone”) with the much loved son, who will hand me over to my owner for life; well hopefully, this being the United States of America, where it is reputed 50% of marriages end on the rock. No pun, whatsoever intended. Marriage for life is within the connotations of assumed reality, whatever that meant.
It was after a meal at a classy West side restaurant, where I resided in the right hand pocket of what appeared to be an overly excited and nervous master, that I could sense my moment coming. “Diamonds” needless to say, “Are a lady's best friend”. At this point in time, I knew I was destined for a friend's hand. They decided to take a walk down the waterside after a meal seasoned by deep and true love; but again not many are favoured with such time, every now and then he would clutch my case, as if to assure himself the object of love's declaration was where it is supposed to be. I guess we must have walked a block's length and I knew that given the frequency of touch and squeeze the moment was closer, oh yes! Ever closer. Suddenly, my world turned on its head, literally, I head two low muffled shots and the master rolled over and I was thrown out of his pocket. The black, velvety confinements of my box absorbed some of the shock of the fall, but I was badly rattled. The box rolled a few meters away from the fallen and bleeding man, whose object of affection knelt by his side sobbing. I could only conjecture the scene from the noises reaching the box. Then, shortly thereafter, the loud sirens and lots of movements all over the place, nobody seemed to have noticed me. A long time after it became quiet, I felt being picked up, and saw these huge yellow teeth locking down at me, my gold band shone in supreme whiteness compared to those teeth. Whoever she was, she tried the ring and it fit, as if made to order, on her fingers I have rested all these time, these many years, I should add. I feel in a sense glad that I am her joy, but every now and then I think of the other couple and wondered what happened to them. however a diamonds imagination can only go so far.
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