Friday, July 29, 2011
Walking down Bleeker towards McDougal Street in a cold rain on February 14th I kept my head down and my eyes trained on the street we were about to cross. Traffic was moving at a crawl pace because it was Valentines Day and an early Saturday evening when the Village would be normally crowded.
There were less people around than usual but that didn’t make me sad. What did make me sad was my boyfriend who said he was quote, taking me down here to have a good time but first he wanted to buy me a present of something I liked.
“What?” I said surprised. Sandy didn’t usually take the initiative unless there was good music involved which I had nothing against either.
On a roll he continued, “I figured we’d make a night of it. First we get you some pretty silver earrings, sorry but twenty-five’s the limit, oh ok sorry thirty’s it. I’m not rich and you’re my girl and I want to do something special for you and pay for it all too. After the earrings we’ll for a bite to eat and be ready for Buddy Guy at the Lone Star at eight.”
My mouth gaped for and I tried to prevent myself gushing all over him.
And now here we were, an hour and a half later and we still couldn’t get past the first part of the adventure. Time was moving fast and the show was at eight and it was already 6:45.
“Don’t worry,” he said reading my mind. “There’s still plenty of time. I know this little place over on McDougal.”
I began considering my life and feeling depressed that I would never meet a man who really understood me. He had made a good try, but obviously he couldn’t pick out anything I’d possibly even think was halfway attractive – even though he was mostly very smart and had fine choices in movies and music and interesting introspections that made me consider art I wouldn’t normally pay attention to. It seemed my life’s search to find a partner and mate seemed hazardous at best and mostly pretty hilarious.
We were about to cross against the light when I spied gold glinting in the pale streetlight through the fog and haze of the rainy night. I spied a car moving slowly towards me through the drizzle. I decided to make a run for it and run I did. Holding my hand up high as though I were a crossing mistress at the schoolyard I lithely pranced across the wet street bent over momentarily holding my right hand high while with my left I swiped the golden object off the wet pavement and wrapped it close in my fist continuing my run to the other street side of the street where I awaited my surprised boyfriend who was trying to please me and so not. I was starting to soak through my shoes, my hair hung limply and my mascara was running. I hadn’t yet examined the object clutched in my fist. My heart was beating fast and my breathing had sped up from my short sprint. The adrenaline rush moved me.
“So what is it?” he nagged. Or at least I felt nagged. “I suspect it must be something valuable,” he continued fluidly, “for you to take a chance on your life like that on such a dim night running into traffic against a light.” He paused for a breath too. “Well are you going to open your hand and let me see or not?”
My breath slowed and I answered. “I guess we’ll have to see it together for the first time because I have no idea what I picked up only that it glowed golden in the pale streetlight.”
I opened my fist and the bracelet glowed like it had a halo. I inspected it and there was miraculously no damage. Passersby looked at us. I closed my fist.
“Hey I said, I’ll show it to you at home. It looks like may be valuable and I don’t think it’s a good idea to show off out here. I don’t want end up some statistic.”
“Yeah,” he said agreeing. “You’re right. We can look at it at home.”
I kept this watch for thirty years even though the man I’d been with when I found it had long ago moved on. Sometimes I looked at it to examine the handwork and beauty. I had the watch fitted a gold safety chain to make certain I wouldn’t lose it but then it looked too rich for me. I like to wear silver plus I’m not particularly crazy about watches although the band was definitely a wide band bracelet. I obsessed about how much an 18-karat gold watch would be worth according to the price of gold. Hand worked with etchings it looked like something one might find at an estate sale. The clock said 17 jewels and Argentina. It weighed near to 3 ounces. I thought maybe I’d leave it to a family member since it seemed a waste to sell it.
This year, when I decided to put down ceramic floors and retile my bathroom. I sold the gold watch. At first I was disappointed. The dealer insisted the watch be popped out. He had no interest in the watch’s hand carved beauty or that the band was hand etched in three colors gold or that the watch had 17 jewels. Plus I had to pay to have the watch popped out or he wouldn’t buy. His female clerk examined the bracelet. "So old fashioned," she said, "Time to melt it down."
After all was said and done I ended up with one thousand twenty seven dollars. Not bad for a Valentines Day random find on Bleeker Street thirty years ago on a cold rainy winter night.
Author’s note: There are three other bracelet stories written over thirty years ago. This one was written currently.