November 4 & 5: Jennifer Fawcett

November 4 & 5: A Liquid Loss

Jennifer Fawcett

CHARACTERS:

TESS: female, any age, any ethnicity

A Liquid Loss

TESS: It starts with just a little thing here. Then another little thing there: a favorite book loaned to a friend and never returned. Now you don’t live in the same city and you’re not going to be petty and insist they mail it back. You could just go onto Amazon and buy it again but you know you won’t. Instead, you’ll let that empty space sit on the shelf. Like a gravestone: a marker of space once filled.

It’s the DVDs you could never find after that party; the broken coffee mug; the skirt the dry cleaner has no recollection of and you can’t find the receipt. And the stone in the bracelet from India, from a different time in your life that was already over before the stone was lost but now is more than over, now it’s missing.

It’s the permanence of it.
Gone. Gone forever.

I never wore jewelry until I went to India. As a child, I would get jewelry for birthdays; cheap, pretty glass meant to look like stones. I always wore it and I always lost it. And then I went to India, to Jaipur, the jewelry capital. The place where precious and semi-precious stones were sent from all over Asia to be set in silver (for tourists) and bright gold (for Indians). I would go into the jeweler’s shops and take the tiny cup of hot sweet chai they would offer and I would pour over their glass display cases. It was the first time in my life I was rich: my North American money worth so much in their currency. I bought lapis lazuli, moonstone, tiger’s eye, cat’s eye, coral, quartz, pearl, jade from China and jade from India, and Mona Lisa: pale green stones the colour of new leaves in spring when the sun shines through them.

I bought stones that were pulled from the ground, from rivers, from mountains, from caves in countries I will never be in. Now I wear a little piece of them against my skin, cut, smoothed and polished, and embedded in silver.

The law of physics says energy never dies, it just transforms. Matter is energy. It appears in a form you can use, you can wear against your skin, and then it disappears, lost one way or another. It still exists, just not for you anymore.

But it feels permanent.
Gone. Gone forever.

Like a marker has been put down: before the stone was lost, and after. A division. A way to measure time.

How do you measure time when it’s a flow of loss. When it’s liquid, when it’s the blood of the rocks we’ve built our countries on. There isn’t a clear “before” and “after”. There’s only the point when you realize that too much has been taken.

Matter continues; it doesn’t die, it transforms.
It’s the permanence of it.
Gone. Gone forever.