TITLE: The Bracelet
By Kurt Youngdale
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“Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep.”
The children sang as Jill looked around frantically. She hadn’t remembered the last time she felt it around her wrist.
“And doesn’t know where to find them,”
The children continued singing as Jill got down on her hands and knees like someone would do after dropping their glasses.
“Leave them alone and they’ll come home.”
The difference between the disconcerting look on Jill’s face and the joyful abandon the children felt was highly visible.
“Bringing their tails behind them,”
The children all fell down with the reciting of the last line and started giggling. Tonya, a little girl of about 4, pulled on Jill’s sleeve. “What are you looking for?” Tonya asked in a voice that conveyed sympathy and loss.
“I lost my bracelet”, Jill replied. She was in a state of near panic by now and it was all her could do to restrain herself from having a breakdown. In a gesture so innocent and selfless Tonya removed a necklace she was wearing, which consisted of several strips of construction paper glued together like a chain and handed it to Jill.
“You can have my necklace, Miss Brown” Tonya offered. Jill softened her tone.
“That’s all right sweetheart,” Jill said “You keep it.”
Tonya’s face started drooping and her feelings were hurt. Jill felt bad and put the necklace around her neck. Tonya’s face lit up and she smiled.
Jill worked in a day care center. She didn’t make very much money but she loved children. She went to school at night and still lived with her mother. When she was sixteen, her grandmother gave her an old bracelet. She never adorned herself with jewelry but when her grandmother died un-expectantly, she wore the bracelet everywhere she went. Now she had lost it and didn’t know where it was. She asked the children if any of them had seen it but none of the children had. She tried to concentrate. She tried to think about what she should do. She would have to wait until work was over and then retrace her steps. She felt anxious like someone had covered her with itching powder. The clock on the wall seemed to drag its hand and increase the time it took to make a revolution.
Tonya felt Jill’s distress but did not know how to process it. She decided Jill needed a hug. Whenever she felt sad, her mother would always give her a hug to help her feel better so she administered this medicine to Jill. Jill put her arms around Tonya. She knew Tonya was trying to make her feel better and it was important to respond to Tonya’s efforts in a positive way.
“Do you feel better, Ms. Brown?” Tonya asked. Jill forced a smile.
“Yes I do. Thank you Tonya.” Jill in fact did not feel better at all.
When work was over, Jill carefully retraced her steps. She went by the grocery store. She went by the dry cleaners. She went by the odd shaped house with the pointed roof but she didn’t find her bracelet. When she got home she went up to her room and cried. Her grandmother was really gone. The one thing that held her grandmother’s memory to her had been neglected. She did not know how she could have been so careless. The sound of crickets outside seemed to mock her and off in the distance she could hear two cats fighting. There was a knock on her door.
“You have a visitor.” Her mother stated not waiting for a reply. When Jill came down to the living room, Paul was waiting for her. Paul was of medium height and build and although he dressed respectfully he seemed unimaginative. He stood up when she entered the room.
“What are you doing here?” she asked. Her voice sounded put off.
“We were going to the movies tonight. Don’t you remember?” His voice was uneasy and he tried not to look dejected but he was unsuccessful.
“I’m sorry, I forgot” She said, “Can we go another night?” It was rude for her to trample on his feeling like this but she knew he would forgive her and that made it seem alright.
“I suppose it would be ok.” He replied. There wasn’t much sense of hiding his disappointment. He got up to leave. Jill went back to her room to sulk. “I found thins between the floorboards under the porch.’ He continued holding out a bracelet and laying it on an end table as he was leaving. Jill did not hear him.
The next morning when she got up her mother scolded her. “You should not leave your grandmothers bracelet lying around like this, it could get lost.”
“Where did you find it mother, I’ve been looking everywhere for it.”
“I found it on the end table by the front door.’ She said. “Your just not being responsible.”
“I’m sorry mother. I’ll take better care from now on.” She took the bracelet and put it on her wrist. She felt relief. Her world had been restored. When she went to work that day Tonya politely asked her if things were better and she radiantly proclaimed that all was well again.
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