Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

The Necklace and the Dime

The Necklace and the Dime

Photograph via Flickr by KiyoKatu

Editor’s note: Once a week, Laura Morton will use personal history to put a Craigslist ad into perspective.

Pressing

Most people have a moment or two from their youth of which the recollection still makes them cringe. Moments that no matter how many years pass, and how unlikely it is that anyone else on the planet remembers them, still haunt you.

One (of the many) of those moments happened to me in the seventh grade. At that time, practically every girl in my class proudly displayed one half of a “best friend necklace” on her neck. But, I didn’t have a best friend necklace. I had a best friend—at least, I thought I did. Her name was Mary, and for some reason she never liked to come to my house . . . maybe it was because I had brothers, and only tap water to drink, and my mother never bought us the chewy granola bars with chocolate chips, only the ones that were hard like tree bark and practically tasteless. But, she also never invited me to hers. Probably this was because all I wanted to do was eat Oreos and watch cable.

Then, one day, a new girl named Stella swooped in. Stella had perfect black hair, unlike my pile of red hair, which on a good day looked like a discarded wig, and on a bad day collected in a rats’ nest at the nape of my neck. She also had beautiful skin, straight teeth, and not even the slightest weakness in her vision, which meant that unlike me, she didn’t need big blue glasses or braces. She also happened to know how to shave her legs without leaving blotchy red stripes of razor burn . . .

Stella immediately caught on to the stupid necklace trend and knew she had to have one. The only two girls left without necklaces were Mary and me.

She chose Mary.

They went to the nice mall with Stella’s dad and bought them—two halves of one heart. When they put the halves together, it said “best friends.” Broken up, though, Stella took the half with the “be” and “fri” and gave Mary the “st” and “ends.”

This new perfect girl, who stole my best friend, also sat next to me in religion class. But, she never talked to me or even acknowledged that I was there. One Tuesday afternoon, our religion teacher was showing us a slideshow and going on and on about the Virgin Mary “just appearing” to “precious Italian children,” and I happened to look over at Stella. She was gazing at the slides, and as she did, her thin fingers, their nails manicured and un-chewed, pulled the chain of her necklace against her full, red, and un-chapped lips. She dipped the tip of the heart into her mouth, and let it tickle her tongue. She seemed mesmerized by it.

I plunged my hand to the sweaty bottom of my fake Liz Claiborne purse and felt for something (I didn’t even know what). I found a dime and shoved it in my mouth. The metallic taste shot up my nose—first cold, then warm. It sat awkwardly on the tip of my tongue and cut the ridge of my mouth. And then, suddenly, it slipped—falling to the back of my throat. It teetered, I coughed, and it almost plunged all the way down. I grabbed hold of the corners of my desk and grunted. Then I gagged like a cat and the dime plunked down onto my open religion book—right onto the gentle face of Saint Agnes and a puddle of spit.

I looked up to find everyone staring.

After a very brief pause, my religion teacher returned to her slide show.

The Ad

CL>new york>brooklyn>all personals>strictly platonic

Tru Friendship – m4w – 30

Hello I am a very shy, single
and creative person who likes
to meet new people all over
I am from brooklyn ny born and raise
single with no kids or drama
born on June 24 I don’t smoke
but I do drink rarely on holidays mainly
I like to write poetry a lot and listen to music
I like spending time with family or keeping to myself
So I am here looking and hoping
to making new friends or text buddies

So if any one interested in just talking or getting to know each other
message or text me xxx-xxx-xxxx thanks

The Response

If only I had had craigslist back then, I would have found a way to make friends like this gentleman.