I was never the least bit superstitious until I was Editor-in-Chief of The Stormy Petrel and discovered that our computers sometimes lost files. For no reason. At all. Consequently, I became very insistent that we save pictures as TIF’s in the Current Issue Images and documents as .doc files in Current Issue Articles, exactly as I had been taught to do as a section editor my sophomore year. I’m sure the extension and location of files had nothing to do with whether or not we lost an issue of the paper; that wasn’t the point. My methodology was ritualistic. So long as I and everyone else saved files just so, I had faith that we would still have an issue to send to the printer at the end of the weekend.
The two weeks after graduation didn’t do anything to counteract my newly superstitious mind. Three things, more or less unexpectedly, occurred in twos.
Firstly, two friends, one from college and one from elementary school, got married one week apart. Okay, it’s wedding season, no big deal. A little bit more strange is that I had a flat tire on my car on the day of Brittany’s wedding (when I was supposed to drive from Greenville, SC back to Atlanta) and a flat tire on Mama’s car the next weekend (when we were driving from Atlanta to DC). Is there something radioactive in my body that forces air out of tires at very inopportune times? Unfortunately, I can’t subject this hypothesis to the rigors of the scientific method because I haven’t been inside a car since I arrived in DC. Thirdly, and thankfully, I found two pieces of jewelry I had lost that both meant very much to me.
I wear two gold rings on my right hand. On my thumb, my father’s wedding ring. On my fourth finger, a Claddagh ring. When I got home from Ireland, where I bought the Claddagh ring, the only other piece of gold jewelry I had was Daddy’s wedding ring, which slipped easily onto my right thumb. I’ve worn them both every day since, except a few times when I’ve run out the door without slipping them on. On those days my fingers feel undressed, denuded. Imagine, then, how my chest froze when one night before getting into bed I realized that Daddy’s ring wasn’t on my thumb. I was staying with Taryn, and she and Stuart had already gone to bed, so I couldn’t very well turn the house upside down in a search. Instead I had to go to bed fearing that my dad’s wedding ring went down the garbage disposal when I was washing my hands.
The next morning Taryn and I searched through all couch pillows, peered and poked down all drains, and even took out the drawer under the stove, in case their cat Bailey had batted it under there. She had not, but we did find innumerable pens, hair bands, role play figurines, and even Stuart’s contacts case. Taryn theorized that Bailey must have buried it in one of her hiding places, like the little dwarf that she is. It seemed I would be going home without my ring, but on the last night I was there, Taryn made enchiladas, and when she put on the oven mitt to take them out of the oven, she felt something hard in the thumb…and it was my ring. The last time the mitt had been used was when I took out blueberry muffins out of the oven the first night I arrived. Thus was my first piece of beloved jewelry recovered.
The second piece had been missing for much longer. When I went off to college I decided not to bring the string of pearls my great-great-grandmother had given me one Christmas in middle school. I love that necklace because she gave them to me, but also because it was also the earliest adult gift I had ever received: too precious to risk dorm theft, certainly. One weekend when I was home last fall I decided that I wanted to bring my pearls with me after all. (In anticipation of a Bond girl costume contest, I was thinking of dressing as Moneypenny.) But they were nowhere to be found. Not on my shelf, not in my chest, not in my closet. The entire jewelry box seemed to have vanished. Mama had held a yard sale the spring before, and I had given her permission to sell anything of mine that was obviously junk, so it was hard not to accuse her of unwittingly selling my pearls. Then, when I had finally given up all hope of finding them, Mama and I had to move all my books in boxes to my closet. There in the furthest, uppermost corner of my closet was a small, dark wood jewelry box, the one that held my pearls. In the space of two weeks, miraculously, I found my two most precious pieces of jewelry.
Someone please check with me in twenty years, and make sure I’m not a crazy woman who plans her weekly outings according to her horoscope.