In the time of viruses turning lungs to glass, I can’t be there, she can’t be here. So curiosity and whatever magic powers cell phones sparks tendrils uncurling miles and miles around a tarnished silver locket, flowers blooming at the edges of a heart, a ‘B’ sunken in the middle. For Bill? Billy? It’s our first thought, a father, an uncle shared between us. She says she’s loved two Bills in her life. The two Bills, I say, a story if I’ve ever heard one. But she keeps it close, closed, like the locket that might not be. We can’t get it open, my fingers far away, hers hesitant, wanting to break the secret but not the container. There’s nowhere to take it without risking death, a hyperbole that isn’t quite, our respective face masks hung by the door like jackets or keys, umbrellas, a necessary component now when breaching the world outside. She has no idea where it came from, the mystery locket; who it belonged to; whether ‘B’ is for a man, a woman; if it was treasured or just accepted; but it’s here, still, when so many things aren’t. I look at the picture she sent, an overhead light reflecting off the table giving the silver a muted golden hue. I remember Christmases before things got dangerous. The eight, nine, ten feet tall trees in the entryway, making everyone look up. A world of memories dangling from the branches, ornaments pointed to, laughed at every year as we stacked our love in shiny wrapped boxes in whatever space we could find on the floor before a round of hugs, kisses on the cheek, drinks passed. It hardly mattered what we found when the paper was torn away, mingled voices, immediate soft touches when something someone said struck us funny, the easy, careless freedom of leaning into a shoulder and whispering thank you, I love you, I missed you, I’ll miss you — I imagine a weight in my hand, the size of a locket. We’ll probably never know why or who or when and if it’s never opened, that’s okay. We know what’s inside, the echo of a beat of a heart saying here, take me with you when you go.
Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram
Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. She resides in Graham, NC with her cats, Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.