Past, Present, Future

When I graduated college, my grandparents got me a diamond necklace. A modest pendant of three diamonds evenly spaced on a vertical silver bar, I can still remember standing on my front porch where we’d gathered after the ceremony for lunch, my Grandma handing me the small box.

“It’s nothing, really” she said. “But we wanted you to know how proud of you we are, past, present and future.”

A scant three years later when she got very sick very quickly, I sought out the necklace in my jewelry box. I hadn’t worn it much – the chain had broken unexpectedly and I’d not had the funds to replace it.

As I rushed about to tie up loose ends and get to Chicago and the hospital where she’d been admitted, I got myself to a jewelry store and replaced the chain – I put the $75 it cost on a credit card. It didn’t matter; I needed that necklace with me for what was ahead.

For the last six years (Jesus. Has it been that long…?)


For the last six years, I’ve worn that necklace damn near every day. If you know me, you’ve seen it on me. In some strange way, it grounds me. It centers me. It reminds me of who I really am, where I come from, who the people are who know me from my first flaw to my last and love me anyways. It’s inspiration and motivation. It’s a sense of security resting at my collarbone.

Yesterday on the train, I reached for the pendant as I often do, mindlessly fingering the three stones as I sped towards work for another day. This time, though, the pendant didn’t resist my tugging. Instead, the two loose ends of the chain came gliding over my shoulders, unclapsed.

I shrugged my shoulders and figured I hadn’t fastened it securely that morning. So I re-hooked one side into the other, an act I’ve repeated every day for six years, and got off the train at 28th Street like I always do.

When I got home that night, as I set my bags down, I reached for the necklace again. Again, it slid right off my neck and into my hand. This time, I investigated the hook – had it gotten jammed or bent out of shape?

I used my thumbnail to open the clasp and released it, testing the resistance. Sure enough, it didn’t click back into place like it should have, as if whatever spring keeps it in place had lost its coil.

The necklace is now sitting safely in my jewelry box – I’ll have to get another new chain before I can wear it again. But I’m not in a rush to find one. I’ve paid off the credit card I bought the other one on, and can surely afford a replacement chain.

No, I’m not going to rush because I don’t feel like I need to. The clasp giving out when it did – just six weeks after I arrived in New York, started a new job I’ve worked so hard to land, in the city I’ve dreamed about since I was twelve – to me, it seems too perfect. It’s as if, nearly a decade after she presented me with it, my grandma found a way through that necklace to tell me she always knew I’d get here.

Me, G & G at Graduation

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