Portal by Roman Battaglia
Portal by Roman Battaglia

The Locket by Emma Tara

She grew up around beautiful objects that told the history of strangers. Where she saw stories, memories, and possibilities, her mother saw only price tags and a source of income. Meredith didn’t blame her mother for not seeing past the monetary value of the objects in their family-owned antique shop. Her mother had never seen the things that she had seen. Meredith always volunteered to close the shop and this night was no different. Meredith stood behind the chicly rusted countertop updating the inventory list on the shop computer and impatiently watched the digital clock. Right as the clock struck 7:00 Meredith heard the wind chime above the shops door jingle. She looked up to find a man had entered the store. He had a soft round face, lively brown eyes and short tousled brown hair. If she had to take a guess she would say he was no older than 21. As he made his way over to the counter she caught the glimmer of a silver necklace chain in his hand, hanging from the chain was a medium sized silver locket. She knew the necklace well. It had been displayed in the shop window for four years. The necklace seemed to illuminate in the dim light of the shop and as she watched the man run it through his fingers she was pulled deep into a memory.

Meredith was thirteen. She stood next to her mother as she tried to bargain with the man in charge of the sale. They stood inside a large 19th century victorian home that one could tell was well lived in. The woman who owned the house recently passed and she had no family to leave her belongings to. This was the first estate sale Meredith was allowed to attend and the first time she saw how fantastical other people's belongings could be. As her mother tried to convince the man to lower the price of a crystal chandelier, Meredith wandered off to explore. She found herself draw to table full of jewelry. Most of the buyers were looking at the pieces made of gold, precious gems, pearls and diamonds. On the bottom left corner of the table lay a neglected silver locket. Meredith couldn’t say what possessed her to pick it up, just that she had a deep desire to feel the weight of it in her hands. As she closed her fist around it a series of memories filled her head. These memories weren’t her own. She watched as a young blonde haired girl received the locket from a handsome young soldier. Their life together played out in her mind like a movie. She saw their first kiss, their first dance, their wedding day. She watched as they said a teary goodbye as he left her to go to war. She felt the pain and the heartache as the girl's world fell apart when she found out he would not return home to her. Meredith watched her grow old and never love another man the way she loved him. Finally, Meredith watched her take her last breath and drift peacefully away in her sleep. Then she was back staring at the necklace, cheeks wet from tears. Meredith walked back over to her mother and held the locket out for the man.

“How much for this?” She asked.

The man took the locket from her and examined its rusty chain and broken clasp.

“I can’t put a price on something like this. Take it.”

The sound of a throat clearing pulled Meredith from her memory. The guy who entered the store was now standing in front of the counter holding the necklace out for her.

“Um, how much for this?” He asked.

Meredith looked at the necklace fondly.

“Is it for someone special?”

He nodded.

“It’s for my girlfriend. Her birthday is coming up and she loves old things like this” he answered.

Meredith smiled.

“I can’t put a price on something like this. Take it.”

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