Last night, shortly before going to sleep, I took off my earrings and set them in the center of the nearby end table.
This morning, only one remained.
This wasn’t the first time this had happened. On a few occasions, one earring from a favorite pair has disappeared, never to be found.
There were several other things on the table, including small curls of birch bark that might become project material, so I carefully sorted through everything. No second earring.
I tried peering under the table, which has a low bottom shelf, with a flashlight. Then I moved it completely. I even tried the “Tony, Tony” chant known to many Catholics.
But between sorting the tabletop’s contents and looking beneath, I took one other step. Like I said, this wasn’t the first time this had happened. So I gave in to the thought I’d had before and addressed the woman who died in our home, using the nickname our neighbor had told me.
“Gaye,” I called out. “If you have my earrings, I’d like them back … someday.”
I didn’t have a great deal of confidence doing this. I believe ghosts are possible. That they can remove objects to other places, I have trouble believing. But if I hadn’t asked, I would have felt like I was ignoring something that might be important.
Thinking I might write about this and wanting the earrings for a photo, I went to my jewelry box to gather the other mateless. First came the most vexing, a hoop with square black stones in a setting that looked like hematite. I wore these often and still missed having the pair. I put the remaining one in front of me.
Through the drawers I went. Another lone piece, not as favored, but with beads of purple, my favorite color. Out it came.
I couldn’t find the third piece I wanted, a wooden earring from a pair my daughter brought back from Colombia. The missing one might have been lost outside or in a vehicle, but diligent searches of both the truck and the path from it to the house had netted nothing.
The remaining one wasn’t where I expected, which annoyed me. I searched other drawers, rooting through a deep one full of sentimental items. No luck. Thinking maybe I had tucked it in with craft projects to turn into a necklace, I stopped looking and turned to my small pile.
There was the purple beaded earring … and two black hoops.
I wish I had had a camera running. I don’t recall taking out two hoops. I’d like to think that if I pulled out one, then another, I’d have seen the match right away. Still, I’m willing to acknowledge that I might have overlooked it, that in fact I pulled two black hoops out of the jewelry box and put them next to each other.
That doesn’t explain how very different they look, though. In the photo at the top, the earring on the left is the one I am certain I pulled out of the drawer. At right is the one I don’t recall removing but found in front of me. They should look the same if they were stored in the same place, yet clearly they don’t.
I am at a loss, puzzled but not frightened, neither believing nor disbelieving.
“Thank you, Gaye,” I said, and put on the black hoops.