Yeah, yeah, I know. No Fiction Updates, or updates of any kind, in a while. It’s due to a series of things occurring at once. The first of those things was the last Thursday I actually posted. I had too many (good!) things on my mind for days afterward to bring myself here. Then, I actually went on a small trip with my sister. I figure I’ll talk a little about that.
A couple of Mondays ago, back between around May 31st and June 3rd, I was actually out of town. I went down to Southern California with my sister and niece. A couple of weeks prior she asked me if I wanted to just drive down and hang about. I love both spontaneity and road trips, so I gleefully agreed to go with her.
On our second day of the trip, we took my niece (who shall be henceforth referred to as “Itty Bitty”) to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. It was a Tuesday, and therefore a BAD DAY to go to an aquarium. There were flocks of schoolchildren everywhere, hordes of them. Some were better behaved than others, but all of them were noisy and giddy and bouncing around as if they were filled with helium—just like kids should be during a field trip right before summer.
We went to the gift shop. Interestingly, my niece didn’t really seem to want most of the brightly-colored plastic knick-knacks that most children love. I mean, I remember going on field trips and finding at least one thing I wanted. Itty Bitty is three, so I think she’s still a little young for a lot of it. She did say she wanted something noisy, but they didn’t really have anything noisy (much to the satisfaction of countless parents, I’m sure). My sister bought her a lot of stuff anyway, including a pair of binoculars and a beach set filled with shovels and buckets that she would actually use and enjoy.
At one point, I walked past the cash registers. I noticed a display set up on the counter. Hanging from a bunch of wooden rods was a collection of braided ankle bracelets with tiny glass beads of various colors. Some of the beads were round, and some were shaped like dolphins.
The display had a board with a long description of the product on it. Something about the anklets being “wish” anklets, and that you tie one around your ankle while making a wish on it. When the anklet falls off, your wish will come true. Kind of like friendship bracelets. Each of the colors stood for something different. I found a picture online of a display that is virtually identical other than the bracelet type being different (these are made of cat’s eye, mine is not). White, which I picked up, stood for “peace”.
For credit’s sake, I found this picture here.
I picked one up, not caring about the wishing aspect or even really what the colors stood for (though white for “peace” is a common application and one I don’t have a problem with). I wanted an anklet, for myself, because I like anklets. And yes, dolphins. I’ve been meaning to pick up an anklet for a while, or perhaps braid one myself. Looks like I found one to buy first, so there you go.
“We sell a lot of these,” the woman behind the counter said to me, smiling as I handed the anklet to her. She looked my age at most—I’m thinking she was probably around nineteen.
“Oh yeah?” I said, feeling oddly conversational. She was so friendly.
“Yeah. They’re really popular with the kids, they love ‘em.”
“I think it’s something about the wishing, the whole ‘wish come true’ thing.”
I swallowed my discomfort. “Yeah, that’s definitely going to draw a kid in,” I said, smiling faintly.
How embarrassing. Did it even occur to her that I might have wanted that anklet? That I wasn’t buying it for my niece, or for some other kid under twelve?
And I don’t know why I was so embarrassed to be buying something that was later considered to be aimed at children (while the concept is something kids would love, the display doesn’t look it). I didn’t buy it because I wanted to make wishes. I didn’t buy it because of the color symbolism (although symbolism is nice, don’t get me wrong). I bought it because I wanted an anklet. And it’s a nice anklet, for what it is.
I actually considered giving the bracelet to someone I thought might like it– maybe my younger cousins. I tucked it into my purse and forgot about it until I got home. I found it while looking for something else.
I took it out of its bag, tied it around my ankle, and wished for a little peace.