Sometime right around when this photo was taken (I think this must have been Thanksgiving or sometime around then), my grandparents gave me an aquamarine ring as a Christmas/Hanukkah present. They died not that long after and for the last 21 years, I have spent almost every minute wearing that ring. It has become almost like a superstition — what if something happened to me and I wasn’t wearing it? What if I left it at home and my house burned down? It is a way I can carry them around with me, a mechanism for remembering them, though I don’t really need one. It is also, I think, a way to remember myself because when they died, I sometimes think my childhood did, too. I learned what pain was, what loss was, and I have never been the same.
Sometimes I am not even sure what it is that I miss, except that it seems like something essential I once had.