My husband criticizes me for lack of sentimentality.
I prefer to call it “detachment” from worldly things.
Last night I dreamt that my younger children had “painted” the rug in our living room with spaghetti sauce. I was calm, but sad; upset, but hopeful that I had caught it in time and grateful that I owned a rug shampooer. I love that rug, but even in my dream, I knew it was just a “thing.”
But for the past few days, I’ve been on a rarely taken sentimental journey.
I started dating Bill when I was 18 and a freshman in college. A year later, he presented me with pearl stud earrings as an anniversary gift. They look a lot like these earrings, which are a close-up from this wedding photo. Please note that those earrings in that photo are NOT the ones he gave me, they just look like them. I had put the earrings he gave me in a VERY SAFE SPOT so that I would know exactly where they were and could wear them on my wedding day. They were, in fact, in a great spot – the box with my wedding shoes – but I didn’t remember it, and ending up wearing those substitutes. Even though they look the same, they aren’t, and I, despite all my so-called lack of sentimentality, can not forget that they aren’t the “right” earrings.
For our second anniversary he gave me a delicate gold necklace with a single pearl on it. He lamented that he couldn’t afford a whole string of them.
Anyway, Bill and I dated…and dated…and dated. And I was getting a bit annoyed that we were just dating. Our fifth anniversary was coming up, and I was confident that finally I would get the long awaited proposal. Bill’s sentimental streak is a mile-wide, and he couldn’t propose on any ordinary day. No, he had to do it on a right and proper day, like an anniversary. He’s just very predictable like that.
But he also knows he is predictable so he works hard to be unpredictable, in a predictable way. At several points in the months leading to our anniversary he mentioned that string of pearls he always wanted to give me. I think I was pretty clear in my disapproval of such a plan. He couldn’t afford a string of pearls and a diamond ring. I wanted the diamond.
So then comes the anniversary, and he presents me with a box.
A long box.
I struggled to smile.
He suggested I open the box. There was a string of pearls inside.
I was crushed.
Smiling and apparently oblivious to my disappointment, he suggested I put it on. Bravely trying to be grateful for the gift despite my conflicted and most unpleasant emotions, I agreed. And when I removed the necklace from the case, I noticed something attached to the necklace but tucked underneath the felt-covered cardboard.
A diamond ring.
And I looked up to see him laughing at me, since he knew quite well the torment he had put me through for five
“But…you can’t afford both of these…?” I said.
“Oh, that?” he answered. “That’s a $10 necklace from Walmart.” It looked like this one, a close-up from the same photo. In fact, that is the $10 necklace. I am, actually, rather sentimental.
On Easter morning, I reached into my little box and pulled out my favorite string of pearls to wear to church. Unfortunately, little hands had been playing and the clasp was twisted and sheared off when my husband tried to bend it back into place. “We’ll get a new clasp,” he promised.
“Honey, it’s a cheap necklace. It would cost more to fix than it’s worth.”
But…I think I might be wrong about that. I think I might have to look into that, since I just can’t bring myself to throw it away. It’s worth more than $10, I think.