I go into my closet sometimes and pull my jewelry box down from where it’s hidden on the shelf, underneath winter sweaters and clothes from my thinner days that I can’t bear to part with.
I sit down on my bed with the box in my lap and when I close my eyes I hear my mother’s voice telling me about the day she saw it through a storefront window, how beautiful she thought it was and how grown-up it made her feel, her first real jewelry box. I remember when she gave it to me, at a pivotal point in my teenage years.
I look at the images she chose to decoupage the leather with before passing it on, images that are, without a shadow of a doubt, decidedly ‘me’.
I open the lid and breathe in the familiar smell – the sweetness of the Tiger Balm she’d rub on her forehead during a migraine spell and the musty smell of old leather, of history, of years passed. I breathe in deeply. The smell makes me feel close to her somehow.