the jewelry box

In honor of Maddie's birthday, I will now tell one of my favorite Maddie stories.

When we were living together, she whined about modern jewelry boxes. She wanted something old school, with lots of little compartments on top so she could readily access pairs of earrings and so forth. This was in the days before the web, so to find a suitable box I had to comb antique store after antique store. After several months of searching, I found exactly what she wanted. It was in bad shape, but I painstakingly repaired and restored it myself. When I gave it to her on Christmas day, she was delighted.

A few weeks later, we were arguing. I was doing what I do best: sitting in my office, working, making the occasionally calm-but-inflammatory remark. She was doing what she does best: pacing, ranting, raving. This is why we were a bad fit, ultimately. My low-key snarking really antagonized her. Anyway, from the other room suddenly came a spectacularly violent crash. In a fit of anger, Maddie had picked up the jewelry box and shattered it against the wall. It was destroyed.

She momentarily stormed out of the house. Pissed, I went into the other room and plucked exactly one-half of her favorite pairs of earrings. I tossed five or so earrings into my desk drawer and kept working. She returned, and over the next half hour I heard the increasingly panicked movement of furniture in the other room. Profanity started to flow. Hurt by her action, I now basked in her torment. After about an hour of torture, she came in and apologized. I accepted.

"If it's any consolation," she offered in a tone that started as sheepish but crescendoed into full-blown rage at the universe, "I lost exactly one of EVERY GODDAMNED ONE OF MY FAVORITE PAIRS OF EARRINGS!"

I came clean. To her credit, she appreciated how much she deserved the torturing. Eventually.