The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is "I carry." I've been thinking about the prompt for the whole of the day; thinking about how to write about the item that immediately came to mind when I saw the prompt.
For more years than I can remember, I've worn a necklace with a heart-shaped locket. The locket has space for two pictures. When I first began to wear the necklace, I had a picture of the Tennessee woods inside the locket. Ten years ago this fall, I put a picture of my then-partner in the locket. When JT was born, I placed a small picture of him next to her. In that tiny heart were small photos of the two people whom I loved the most. JT liked to open the locket to check for the pictures. When he was small, he would say "baby" and "mommy." It always made me smile.
18 months ago, when my ex left our home for good, I removed her picture from my locket. Though the tiny JT remained, still worn next to my heart, my boy seemed to mourn the now-empty space as much as I did. He would open the locket, look at the empty space, and then quietly snap the little heart shut. One Sunday when she came to pick him up for their weekly visit, he told her that I had taken her picture out of my locket. It was as if he wanted her to understand just what her absence meant. We three were silent for a moment and then I quietly told him, "she knows that her picture is gone from my locket."
JT still snaps open the locket to admire his chubby-cheeked baby self. But that incident last summer was the last time he mentioned that he used to share the locket space with someone else. He speaks less and less of his other mom as a steady presence in his life. Sometimes I wonder if he'll even remember that she was once a daily feature of our life. And so I carry that in my heart as well ---- an enduring sadness for what he lost when she left.