as a little girl, every time my mom would find me crying over another boy she would tell me to find a man who treated me like a pearl. you know...your dad treats me like a pearl, like a treasure...she would say and i would question if such a man even existed for me. freshman year of college i met russ and my blood turned electric. i remember turning away from his glances and breathing deep against the thoughts swirling in my head. there was someone else - someone a state away who just made sense and who had my attention at the time - i couldn't be distracted.
it would take three years for me to escape from that cloud of verbal and emotional abuse, and coming out i was gun-shy and held my shattered heart close to my chest. i never mentioned or thought about the pearl story because i simply didn't believe it. even when russ & i started dating, even after my confidence grew and his belief put me back behind a microphone, i still waited for the harsh words. i still waited for the ignored phone calls and the snide remarks - for the comparisons and the control.
the day we got back from our honeymoon, he found me in our room unpacking. the day before our wedding was less than ideal for him with last minute schedule changes, a broken car and a fender-bender in holiday traffic. in the chaos and excitement, he left my present at the apartment. with trembling fingers and a small smile, he handed it to me.
i looked at the box expectantly. i still remember the way my heart skipped a half-beat, the way my pulse still caught fire when our fingers touched. i opened this gift from my husband - i still get giddy calling him that - and pulled out a necklace.
it was simple. soft black leather chain with a dangling diamond-clasped pearl.
a black pearl.
the tears found their way to my eyes quickly as memories of conversations rushed to the surface. i heard russ clear his throat and i looked back at him, a smile playing on my lips.
"i wanted to get you something special. the black pearl was perfect: worth more than any other pearl and significant of my feelings for you. our marriage may not be all diamonds and pretty white pearls, but i will treasure you. always."
i walked into his embrace, clinging to my home - this man who just spoke into me and my fears like no one else. i found him mama, i thought as i looked into his eyes and saw all the love in the world reserved just for me.
i'm writing with emily's imperfect prose - join us?