Thursday, April 15, 2010




1 : to move about quickly especially in search
2 : to go through or range over in or as if in a search

When I was a kid, my mother and I often spent Saturday mornings SCOURING the interiors of cardboard boxes and the sun-warmed surfaces of fold-out card tables for junk. Specifically—jewelry. We would drive around looking for yard sales (which we always called "tag" sales, but apparently that terminology is not universal), and usually spent most of our minimal cash on gaudy costume jewelry. My mother usually had an eye out for clip-on earrings (she never pierced) while I liked big, draping necklaces and, more importantly, rings.

My most cherished tag sale find was a vintage mood ring that I acquired when I was 11. The mood element no longer functioned, but I loved the gypsy-like look the ring possessed. There was something about the ring that I thought was kind of...mystical? magical? I was going through this phase in which I really, really wanted to have magical powers. I thought maybe this ring could bring me there. (Not so.)

Anyway, at some point I had carved the initials C B on the back of the ring with a sewing needle. This was during my major crush on Jonathan Brandis. (Candace Brandis. Classic.) I lied to my friends saying that the letters were on the ring when I purchased it, SO OBVIOUSLY JONATHAN AND I WERE MEANT TO BE. (Also not so.) I lied about random stuff a lot; I often wonder how believable I was, or if they were just laughing at me behind my idealistic back.

I eventually grew a distaste toward JB, but the ring gained an even greater significance when I fell in love with a boy named Brian* two years later. Then I thought the ring really did mean something, although I was too in love to share that with anyone. It was too private. I wanted that knowledge only for myself.

I am the kind of person who never loses anything. I could draw you a map of how to arrive at the precise location of any one of my belongings, here in Portland or even hidden away in a crate in my old bedroom in Connecticut. I am organized. I am meticulous. But somehow, probably by some horrible circumstance outside my power, I lost that ring. The day I realized I had lost it I was still living and sleeping in the same bedroom I had since the ring came into my life. I tore that room apart. I SCOURED every inch of that space, looked in every box, moved all of the furniture and then moved it some more, pulled up the edges of the carpeting, felt the undersides of surfaces in case I had taped it under something in some attempt to hide it from myself (I have no idea why I would have done this). But it was gone.

The SCOURING happened at regular intervals. I would let myself be sad for a while, and then I would grow insanely angry and proceed to rip the room apart, thinking that I may have missed a spot. I called everyone I knew hoping that someone had borrowed it, or even stolen it, and I could beg them to give it back. But I had no luck.

This is the only thing I ever lost that I still want back.

It may actually be the only thing I ever lost.


*I feel like this is a good time to point out both Jonathan Brandis and Brian committed suicide. (I have to confess that it crossed my mind it may have had something to do with the ring...)

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