Allie Marini Batts
I stand outside Starbucks, shifting my weight from foot to foot, with my hands deep in the pockets of my hoodie, trying to keep my fingers and toes from going numb. My sister is going to be late like she always is; I really should have just gone inside and gotten a cup of coffee and waited inside for her. Finally, I breathe, when I see her crossing the parking lot. I unclench my jaw and grit my teeth, it’s like I have a mouthful of sand. When Jenny hugs me, she wrinkles her nose up, even though I haven’t even smoked since I got out of the car, at least a half-hour while I was waiting for her. She fumbles with the handles of an old grocery bag and it’s nothing but awkward as I take it from her hands. The clasps and stones of Nannie’s jewelry jingle against the tiny boxes at the bottom of the bag.
“She really isn’t going to talk to me about this?” I ask her, watching for the pink flush and hair twisting that’s the dead giveaway that Jenny’s lying. She pulls a piece from behind her ear, and curling it around her pointer finger, says, “She said she didn’t raise you to be materialistic, but I think she’s just…well, you know,” and pokes me in the arm. She smiles with only half her mouth, and squints her eyes against the afternoon sun that glows the same way as Nannie’s tiger’s eye pendant, somewhere in the corner of an old Winn-Dixie bag. “You want a mocha? I’ll go get in line. It’s friggin’ cold out here.”
It was never about the jewelry itself. Jenny knew that when I asked Mom for it, when she finally got around to going through Nannie’s jewelry box. They weren’t worth very much, and it wasn’t like any of the other LaFurley girls were going to wear them. I get us seats near the window, where the sun hanging low in the sky skitters across the table and shines off the silver settings, still cold to my fingertips. Nannie’s turquoise ring, veined and more green than blue, two stones offset like eyes with a silver feather between them, and the pear-shaped tiger’s eye pendant. In the afternoon sunshine, they’re green and gold teardrops in a skin of sterling, twinkling at me like Nannie’s eyes did when she told my Mom, almost proudly, that I was the granddaughter that was most like she had been, when she was young and frivolous. When she bought jewelry that wasn’t really worth much because the stones were only semi-precious, and sterling silver isn’t all that expensive; the metal’s too soft. I’m the most like she was, and that’s why I wanted the jewelry that made her feel prettier when she slid it on her finger and got the clasp stuck in her hair whenever she fastened it.
About the author:
Allie Marini Batts is an MFA candidate at Antioch University of Los Angeles, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She contributes to the publication of AULA's Lunch Ticket literary magazine, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders Magazine, Mojave River Review, and The Bookshelf Bombshells. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks, You Might Curse Before You Bless (ELJ Publications, 2013) and Unmade & Other Poems, (Beautysleep Press, 2013.) Find her on the web here.