The meaning of things

Years ago, I confessed almost everything to a single friend of mine.  Daily long distance chats could go on for hours and emails were of epic lengths, literally taking an entire evening to put together.  He and I found comfort in each other’s voices and security in a friendship that was nearing the end of a second decade. 

Friendship.  And nothing more.

Where the misunderstandings and unintended emotions came from, I’ll never know.  Loneliness, boredom, curiosity…I’m sure it all had something to do with the eventual blows that would leave us both without each other, as we are now.

During our last visit with each other, it was obvious that our relationship was suffering from some cracks in the foundation, laying ahead of us the options to repair or retreat.  Other friends of mine suggested he was jealous or simply starting to live with the fact that hurt feelings, well…they hurt.  I found myself in a position of having the upperhand, if you will, with the pleasure or displeasure of pretty much dictating where our confused friendship/relationship would go.

Then I was given this:


A Claddagh.  A traditional Irish symbol of love, friendship, loyalty, and fidelity.  And, to me, a symbol of unrealistic expectations.  Because of my very sudden and obvious discomfort, I chose to retreat.  I backed off and made the decision that our relationship would strictly remain as that of friends. 

He and I haven’t spoken a word to each other since.  That was over three years ago.

This necklace has never been worn.  At least, not by me.  My Claddagh has been kept hidden away in the gift box it was sold with and closed up inside another small jewelry box.  To wear it would make me feel that I am mocking everything the Claddagh symbolizes:  The love that I still have for him but not in the way he wanted me to love him; the friendship that became irreparably broken once this Claddagh was placed in my hand; the loyalty we once had for each other that couldn’t even withstand this abrupt change of emotions; and the fidelity that I was not willing to promise to him.  Not then.

Yet, for some reason, I have a hard time separating myself from my Claddagh.  Numerous times I have made the decision to sell it or gift it to someone else but as soon as I realize that means it will no longer be in my possession, I change my mind.  My Claddagh goes back into its box and is slipped inside the jewelry box, pushed back behind the row of books on the top shelf and left alone until another time.


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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