Anonymous sweetheart locket, date and photographer unknown, via Pinterest and eBay
In a thrift shop, I rummage through small bins heaped with pretend treasure—fake gold, real silver, lacquered brass, rhinestones, cheap cloisonné. I wonder who’d worn those objects, who tossed them away; where did the lost stories go, tales of an evening out on the town with this brooch, that matched cocktail ring? And then, a find. I fumble with the friction catch, trying it, failing to shim my thumbnail between two halves, worrying it until it pops open. I fumble with the crystal protecting two faded photographs, a young man in a uniform and a young woman. I close the locket, and they kiss; using the thin nail of my index finger, I can reopen the locket, separate them. Such casual sundering from a stranger. In this vermeil pendant not much larger than a cherry, something for O. Henry or for Chekhov, a keepsake no more: no one’s left alive who remembers them, who’ll tell their stories, keep those stories close to the heart.