About a year and a half ago, I wrote a short story for my English class. I was in the early stages of writing TSOC, and the act of creating a short story really inspired me to keep going with my WIP. In essence, it taught me that my writing didn’t have to be perfect the first time around, because it’s normal to have to go back and correct things to make them better.
So, without further ado, here’s one of my favorite pieces of writing that I’ve done:
“The Necklace,” by Beth Aman (Written January 2014)
Amy sits quietly in front of her mother, not really paying attention. Her mother’s words blur together, and her mind only registers phrases.
“…Doctors did all they could… In a better place now… went very peacefully.”
Amy’s thoughts stray, and she absentmindedly fingers the necklace around her throat. Then her thoughts turn as she looks down at that silver necklace. Suddenly, she’s years old again.
* * * * *
“We have one last present for you, Amelia.” Only her father ever called her ‘Amelia’. And there he was, standing in front of her, on her ninth birthday, holding out their last present. It was a small black box, and inside was the silver necklace. It shimmered in the soft firelight as Amy’s father put in on her.
“There’s nothing on it, though, Dad.” she commented.
“Well, you see, I couldn’t find a necklace that was pretty enough for you. So I decided that you can put on it whatever you like.” He smiled, sending warmth straight to her heart.
That memory fades, and another pops up. A day much like today. Amy sat in front of her mother, and listened to her mother’s voice as her words blurred together.
“You’re father… terrible accident… doctors did all they could.”
* * * * *
And after that, the necklace had become Amy’s most precious possession; her last gift from her father. She never forgave her father for not wearing his seat belt and getting killed. But still, she cherished the necklace and added the first charm to it a few days later: a button from his favorite sweater.
* * * * *
Three years later, Amy sat on a park bench with her older brother John. He was leaving to go to college the next morning, and he had bought Amy her first Mountain Dew as a goodbye. She was twelve years old. After downing her can of soda and talking about life, John pulled the tab off his Mountain Dew bottle. “Give me your necklace?”
She took it off, and he put the Mountain Dew tab on the necklace.
“To remember me when I’m at school.”
And although Amy cherished that “charm”, she never forgave her brother for leaving her alone with their mom. For going to college so far away.
* * * * *
Amy’s mind wanders quickly over the last charm. It is the shard of sea shell with a perfect hole it it, found at the end of a perfect day at the beach with her best friend. That day was special, but Amy never forgave her mom for making them move, and separating Amy from her best friend.
* * * * *
“Amy. Amy?” It’s her mother, and Amy is still sitting in front of her. “Are you okay sweetie?”
“Yeah, fine.” she mumbles.
“Amy, your Grandma wanted you to have this when she died. It’s her wedding ring.” Amy’s mother holds up a tiny gold ring, and places it into Amy’s hand. For a moment, Amy hesitates, her heart swelling with love and loss for her dead grandmother. Then she takes off her necklace and slides her grandmother’s ring onto it, and manages half a smile. But she never forgives her grandmother for not saying goodbye.
* * * * *
Five years later, Amy sits on her bed, pretending to read a book. Her face burns with anger, and a silent tear slips down her cheek. Her husband sits on the end of their bed, not knowing what to say.
“Amy, I’m so… I’m so sorry.”
“Just leave me alone.” she chokes out. Yesterday, her husband had asked to see her necklace. Reluctantly, she had pulled it off and handed it to him. Somehow in the exchange, the chain had snapped, spilling the charms all over the floor. They had collected all the charms, but the chain was irreparable. Amy had refused to talk to him since then.
With a sigh, he gets up, and a few minutes later, he leaves the house. He returns an hour later with a little black box.
“Amy, I know it’s not the same…”
For a minute, Amy struggles.
And then, she smiles and opens the box, and pulls out the chain. She slips the charms on it and hands it to her husband for him to put around her neck.
A new chain.
For the day she learned to forgive.
I read over it now, after not seeing it for a year… and I still love it. It’s not perfect – the tenses aren’t perfect, there are things that could be changed – but I still think it’s beautiful.
And I hope you do too.