The first true story I ever wrote was about a harp.
Sure, I’d done semi-serious scribbles all throughout my childhood. Little snippets of thoughts, plans, notes, ideas, dreams.
Little half-chapters of a novel I’d hypothetically like to finish “in the future” (spoiler alert: my middle school writings never became full novels).
In 8th grade I had an English teacher who was also captain of our Power of the Pen club. She was very into short stories and daily journal writings. One day, she had a line of fourteen pictures* taped to the chalkboard, little captions underneath. They were fascinating pictures. She was holding a cheap kids plastic fire hat. Bright red.
“Today, you are going to draw a number from this hat and write a short story based on the picture and caption it goes with.”
I drew number 7. To this day, my lucky number.
It corresponded to a serene picture of a river with a harp sitting peacefully on a bank.
The caption read, “So it’s true, he thought. It’s really true.”
I was to write a story based on this. The story I wrote isn’t really that important. It was a sort of fantasy genre bit that involved a harp that could teleport you when played. The point is, after I turned in that story things changed.
The teacher kept me after class the next day and asked me to join Power of the Pen. And the writing bug bit me hard. I’ve always been a compulsive scribbler, but now there seemed to be a point.
Many years later, at the pinnacle of happiness in a relationship I hadn’t yet realized the negatives of yet, I was merely meandering around a trinket store with Katherine.
Then I saw it.
It was simple, really. Nothing gaudy. Nothing truly crafty like a lot of my jewelry. Basic, stark silver and small.
I loved it immediately. I was brought back to that day. That rush I had completing a story that was the first to be read by others. To be awarded merit and praise.
I needed that necklace.
And in one of the good moments she had so much in the early years, Katherine saw my lust and she bought it for me.
One of the first things she bought me. I have numerous other pieces of jewelry she showered me with. But this necklace has always stuck with me.
She doesn’t actually know the story behind it. I never shared it in detail. When she asked why I was struck by a harp (I play piano) I vaguely explained about how it reminded me of my childhood. It wasn’t important to share.
Last night I dreamed that I did share it with her. And she got it. She really got it.
This morning I wore the necklace. I don’t even know why. I haven’t dreamed about her in months. Almost a year now. But somehow this dream made me violently nostalgic for the past.
I have no clue why. I’m a fucking idiot basically. Why would I want that back again?
And yet, as I worry the necklace like it’s a stone in my pocket, I wish. I hope. I dream.
*Those familiar with the Mysteries of Harris Burdick get a high five. Those who are curious: go here.