Almost twelve years ago, my husband gave me a diamond solitaire necklace for Christmas that took my breath away. Simple and sparkling, it was the most elegant piece of jewelry I’d ever owned, much less found in my stocking on Christmas morning. Judging from his face while he waited for me to open the gift, he'd had the idea for awhile. When I forget that love is not about always knowing what to give, but with all your heart, giving what you can, I remember that face.
And the necklace was outstanding, or, as my sister put it a few years ago, “kick-ass.”
Always, I knew where it was. But stupid, trusting me, did I take special pains to lock up this piece when cleaners or repair people came through the house? No, I did not. Is there a reason? No there is not, except with all my heart, I've always believed that unless they rob strangers for a living, few people have it in them to go into the personal things of someone they know, rummage through, examine something so valuable, and then pocket it like a quarter they found in the parking lot at Hannaford. And even if they do steal for a living, I've always believed people would rather not.
Stupid, trusting me – squared.
Worse than discovering the diamond was missing last Saturday, was the feeling of dread that it would never be found. When I discovered yesterday that other pieces were missing as well, I knew none of them would be. And yet, even as my brain was running downstairs to tell my heart what had happened, where was I? In the bedroom closet, opening every suitcase, purse, and dust-covered shoebox thinking I'd placed the items out of view, but more than that, hoping I would no longer have to suspect anyone of anything.
It takes forever for people like me to understand we've been robbed. We're so used to believing we get what we deserve, that intuition, the first responder in such a situation, has to punch our guiding beliefs in the face to make it clear. After a while, I realized the worst possibility was the likely one. The jewelry wasn’t lost, or vacuumed up, or left in a hotel room. I had not dropped the pieces down a vent, left them in the car, or done some other careless thing. Everything had been stolen.
It’s bad that whoever did this had likely been allowed into my home by me. It’s bad that they explored places where they knew they didn’t belong in order to find the necklace. It’s bad that because I will never know who did it, I suspect everyone. Worse is the lingering feeling that I should have known better, and would have, if I had managed over the years to become a little more jaded.
I'm getting used to it. I've stopped looking under the kitchen appliances, and inside the pockets of clothing I haven't worn in five years. But theft, however large or small, leaves a stain. It has far-reaching effects which yield other effects until eventually, you’re not only suspicious, but prejudiced, and not just cautious, but fearful.
I’ll keep a light on for the return of my trusting nature while I consider the best way to lock up my valuables. In the meantime, I’m realizing that it feels smarter to be a more suspicious person.