A Mother’s Pearl

It grew from a speck of sand, nestled deep within its mother's breast, safe inside the mothering mantle.  In the dark, layers of nacre – incandescent, transcendent – formed around the embryo and in the bivalve dark it glowed like a new star.

The mother-of-pearl was protective of her lustrous child.  She felt its iridescent warmth and the blush of its subtle color.  Though luminous and pale, in its depths swam the colors of the ocean – green, silver, blue.

She knew that many would seek her chaste birthstone, would hunt for her radiant teardrop.  She feared the harvest of her illustrious offspring and hid beneath the heavy currents, beyond the sweeping tide, behind the fish that curved like a metallic horizon.

But hands will reach far when the demand is high.  The mother was pulled from her world of enigmatic tributaries, sculpted grottos and coral islands that carved a map across the ocean floor.  She was no longer a part of the sympathetic ocean, but a stranger in a world of stinging air and a knife that with careless expertise cut the pearl out of her.

The mother had always been ugly; all of her beauty had drained into her child.  Now she was useless as well, and ready to die.  But her pearl was carried away with the other orphans.

It was put on display, a solitary fruit on a black velvet field – the better to show its pallid gleam.  All memories of the sea were polished off its skin.  It was destined to suffocate in a box along with the other tropies torn from the mysterious alchemy of a protesting earth.

And I am guilty too; I own four of these delicate prisons.

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8 responses to “A Mother’s Pearl

  1. Water baby that I am, I see it a bit differently, as the block of stone from which is extracted the sculpture. Then, it becomes best to appreciate, enjoy and utilize it. Or, in absence thereof, give to someone who will.

  2. Aubrey, this is wonderful!

  3. I love the grey pearls, and the misshapen ones. They remind me that what starts as a misogynistic lump can still be made beautiful. It gives me hope.

  4. [this is precious]
    And I treasure pearl upon pearl here in your writing, Aubrey.

  5. Wbaby – the idea for this post came as the first six words. I had no idea where it would take me, what the direction would be. I didn't know it would be a story of tearing away, that I would wind up being guilty. The pearl is a wondrous thing, and I wish it's story was a happier one.
    fatcat – thanks! I've always been glad that the pearl has been my birthstone.
    Doug – ah, the Baroque pearl; never has the monstrous been so lovely.
    pyrit – coming from my own imperial jewel, this is quite a compliment!

  6. Wow, if only more conservationists had your wordsmithiness. (See? I don't stand a chance LOL). Intrinsic value is challenging to express. I hope many people see this.

  7. interesting. thanks for that pearl of history, shall we say?

  8. Wow. I always enjoy your writing, but this one is exceptional. Thank you for posting this.

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