In the spring of 1994, I was approaching the end of my sophomore year at Salem State College in Massachusetts, where I was pursuing a communications degree. Originally a criminal-justice major, I had discovered during my freshman year that I apparently could write well. That discovery led to my full-on abandonment of a planned law-enforcement career … as evidenced at the time by my reeeeeeaaaaallllllly long hair, four ear piercings, and a standard-issue, Seattle-grunge wardrobe comprised of flannel shirts, torn jeans, my no-longer-spit-shined Army boots and a crystal pendant that hung from my neck.
The pendant I was wearing at the time was a pretty cheap-looking thing (glass, for all I know), so when I one day found myself in Crow Haven Corner — an honest-to-goodness witch shop in Salem — I decided to replace it with something nicer.
I settled on the one shown above, which is a naturally occurring combination of clear quartz and black tourmaline. The witch dude manning the shop that day explained to me that it was good for “protection.” I pretended that sounded perfectly sane, bought the crystal, tied it around my neck and didn’t take it off for 20 years. (Worth noting: I’m still here, mostly unscathed. Just sayin’.)
Originally, the crystal was secured in its sterling-silver setting with some type of adhesive, but that wore off after a few years. I had a jeweler in Sedona, Arizona, re-adhere it once in the late ’90s, but that eventually wore off as well. Still, the tension created by the shape of the metal held the crystal in place firmly enough that it wouldn’t come out unless directly pulled on, so I continued to wear it like that for many years and told myself that if ever it fell out and got lost, it would simply mean that it was time for me to let it go. The most likely scenario, as I imagined it, was that I’d lose it in the ocean, which I felt was an acceptable outcome.
What I didn’t imagine, however, was that I would accidentally pull it loose while drying off after my shower yesterday morning and send it hurtling into the edge of the bathtub, breaking it in two.
Listen, I don’t necessarily believe the crystal had any special power … but after wearing it nonstop for two decades, I’m definitely feeling a bit naked and unarmed without it. And although the following confession will only serve to illustrate the depths of my OCD, I will admit that I had, on many an occasion, reached up to my neck and held that crystal in a particular manner with my left hand when I found myself in a situation that called for a little extra luck. (Dear Boston: Those last three World Series titles? You’re welcome.)
My neuroses notwithstanding, that crystal meant a lot to me. It was my talisman, it was a bridge that kept me connected to a deeply meaningful time in my past, it was a tangible constant in a life that has changed greatly over the past 20 years, and it was something I had hoped I’d still be wearing when they close the lid on me.
But, OK, it’s time for me to let it go. And by “let it go,” I mean “carry the two pieces around in my pocket until I find a worthy replacement.” You know, just in case.
UPDATE: I’m not sure when I’ll be able to replace this crystal (because, as of right now, I’m planning to get the replacement from the same shop where I bought this one — which isn’t exactly convenient from my current location), but the fact that I hadn’t been able to wear it for the past couple of days was really, really, REALLY bothering me, so I caved in this morning and glued the two halves back together with Krazy Glue (which, granted, is much less cool than the method suggested by one of my Facebook followers) and it is again hanging from my neck. It looks pretty dinged-up under close inspection, but I think this temporary solution will shush the voices in my head long enough for me to find a suitable replacement. That’s the hope, anyway.