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73

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Here you are. Here you all are, neatly nestled in your cases whose linings glow with your fiery lights. Beryl, amethyst, pearl, garnet, crystal... My youth was greedy for your luxurious glimmer which I liked to see encircling my slim fingers.

Years have gone by. I put my rings away so that I could wash, sweep, cuddle and cook more easily. The precious sparkles, I no longer found on my fingers but in your eyes, you children, your eyes shining with emerald laughter and silver tears; and when, in the evening, I settled you gently in your envelope of feathers and wool, you kept glowing in my heart despite the veil of your lowered eyelids.

But it wears you out, all that washing, sweeping, and cuddling. The day comes when everything remains gray, despite the wind chasing the clouds, despite the spring sunshine that makes the light mist sparkle. Children, in the throes of adolescence, smoke, slope off, scream, shout and endlessly censure—though they do not mean to—our deepest and most fragile hopes. And you stand there, reduced to silence, your soul gray and floating, your hands hanging lifeless.

So, you open up the cases again. Timidly, you slip on the circles of gold and silver spangled with fine jewels. What a miracle! They still fit perfectly and return to their mistress with no rebellion and no effort. Of course, the skin is a little rough, and on its coarse surface, the aquamarine seems to have left a few bluish trails... And soon memories, awakened by flashes of warm light, distil joys and sorrows captured within the long-lost gems.

I will not bury my rings in their boxes with the satin interiors any more. Children, while I wait for your hearts to hum once more in tune with mine, I will light up my fingers again and perhaps one of you will say to me in surprise, “Mom, you do like rings, don’t you?...” Then I will laugh and we will start talking again.

Translated by Wendy Cross

73

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