My Bedside Table
I don’t know why it came to me, the crystal. The quartz crystal in a setting of copper wire twisting around.
It fell out of a customer’s purse onto the counter while she was paying for a purchase.
I said, “You dropped your crystal.”
She smiled, not surprised. “Keep it. I’ve been carrying it around wondering who to give it to.”
When I objected, she insisted, “It picked you.”
Now, I’m not one to cotton to that sort of thing, to believe that crystals have power, and apparently a mind of their own. However, I thanked her and dropped it into my apron pocket.
Later, I asked my manager if I could keep it, telling him the story with a bit of eye rolling and “isn’t this ridiculous” in my voice.
Yes, he said, I could keep it, smiling in a “yes, I agree, how silly,” way.
I did what research I could, and found anecdotes of losing crystals, but never finding them, or having them find you. I learned that those who believe believe they will leave if they feel you don’t need them anymore, and go to someone who does. Losing a crystal is taken in stride; they’re expected to leave you someday.
For a while, I took it with me, in my purse or my pocket, wondering if I’d lose it, if it would leave me for someone it thought needed it more than I. Once, I forgot I had it in my pocket, and took it to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival’s Othello, and then worried it would fall out when I felt it there. As much as I was a sceptic, I didn’t want it to leave me!
Now it sits in the little glass dish on my bedside table. The dish, shaped like a shell, in which my mother kept her sewing pins. I don’t sew much anymore, just by hand to attach as button or hole in a seam. I never used it to hold pins; it’s special to me for just having been my mother’s, which is plenty enough reason I think.
I sometimes pick up the crystal and rub it, asking it why it picked me? What did it feel I needed? What is it doing for me? Is it even supposed to DO something, or is that self-centered and selfish? Isn’t it enough that’s it’s here, and that I get to enjoy its beauty? I get angry and wonder just what it’s done for me. I am short on money. I have no lover. It occurs to me at those times, perhaps things would be worse, and I just don’t know how much help I’ve been getting.
Then, I have regrets and guilt for asking those questions. I may not believe in my rational mind, but there’s that little part of me that wonders “what if?” and doesn’t want to take the risk of offending a piece of mineral! It must be a relief and a comfort to believe something beyond us has our backs. It may as well be a crystal as anything, right? I think that makes as much sense as anything.
I pick up the glass dish and rub it too. It’s so thick and smooth and round and cold and full of memories. Memories of standing in my mother’s sunny bedroom, while she pinned the hems on the dresses she made for me, for all girls wore dresses to school in the 60’s. If I close my eyes, I can see her holding several pins in between her pursed lips as she measured and pinned the hem.
One time at school, a pin she’d missed removing poked me. Only the once, she was a very conscientious seamstress. She stopped sewing for me when I was a teen. Dresses were out, jeans were in. However, the little glass dish always remained in her room, filled with pins, on the sewing table my sister-in-law now uses.
The dish is mine though, not for pins, but for the crystal that picked me. That picked me! Me! Maybe someday I’ll understand why.
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