Illustration: red bird holding gem in its beak, stripe on bird is Morse code "SOS"

How to Lose

In the second week of spring, my friend was leaving the forest just as I arrived. This is someone who keeps a rainbow of small crystals on her person at all times, for the express purpose of bestowing them whenever the whim strikes. If this happens to you, it will feel like you’ve been blessed by a bright bird sharing its shiny treasure.

Walking along the risen river, the polished amethyst glinting in my sunlit palm, I thought, what if, instead of making promises that grow stale, we leavened our intentions daily, the way the earth doesn’t promise spring, just lays each day before us on its arising.

Then, I put the rock in my coat pocket and forgot about it.

~ ~ ~

It was October by a different river when I reached my hand into that pocket again. “Purple is my favorite color,” my companion said, so I gave the amethyst to them, and in a low spot by the water, mostly out of view, we kissed for the first time.

The stone is lost now, somewhere in their too-small, cluttered apartment, or fallen from their pocket unnoticed. This is a metaphor, of course, about how they will lose track of my heart, having bruised it amethyst in their brief embrace, about how I will resurface somewhere unknowable, and give myself away again like meltwater at the first hint of spring.

Stephanie Sesic teaches writing at Cuyahoga Community College and spends a lot of time hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley. Her work has appeared most recently online in Rascal. Her chapbook, The Intimate Verge, was published by Pudding House Publications in 2008.

Bird with Gemstone illustration by C.B. Auder.

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