The Antique Locket
by Marion Tickner
(Syracuse,, NY, USA)
What's going on, I wondered, as I hurried toward the lockers. A group of girls crowded around Dineen, admiring a locket that dangled from her hand.
"That was my grandmother's," Dineen explained. "My mother found it with her stuff so I took it."
"That's an antique. It would be worth some money," one of her friends told her. "My mother sells stuff on e-bay. Want me to ask her?"
"That's a cameo." Someone else examined it closely. "Is that a real diamond?"
"That's mine," I blurted out.
All eyes turned to stare at me.
"What makes you think it's yours, Laura? Just because you were named after her?" Dineen sneered. "She's my grandmother too."
"She promised to give it to me on my sixteenth birthday." It was all I could do to keep from snatching that locket away from her.
The girls stood there watching, waiting for a fight. Even though we're cousins, we're not really friends.
"Did your grandmother leave it to you in her will, Laura?" Kristin asked as we walked down the hall together.
My throat choked up. "She didn't die. She has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home."
"Does your mother know, about the locket, I mean? Can she do something about it?"
I shrugged my shoulders, not really sure if Granny had told anyone else about wanting me to have it. If she'd put it in her will, they'd find out. But by then it'd be too late.
Kristin said, "There must be some way for you to get what belongs to you." As we reached our classroom, she added, "See you at lunch."
I might as well have gone home for what I accomplished that morning. Thoughts of the locket crowded out everything else. One day Granny told me her mother had given it to her on her sixteenth birthday. She said she was keeping it for my sixteenth. Now Granny wouldn't even remember that promise.
What else would Dineen take? Would her mother grab all Granny's things just because she took care of her these last few years? I mean, shouldn't some of Granny's stuff be my mom's too?
At last we were dismissed for lunch. I poked along to the lunchroom and sat down next to Kristin.
"What to trade?" Kristin's mother makes out of this world molasses cookies, and sometimes Kristin swaps for my chocolate chip.
We were getting ready to make that exchange when Dineen came along. She grabbed the molasses cookie out of Kristin's hand.
Kristin hollered, "Hey!"
Dineen ran off to sit with her friends who were laughing. Big joke! By that time the cookie was half-eaten.
It was only a cookie, but I'd had enough of Dineen. She'd been grabby as far back as I can remember. If she wanted one of my toys, she'd snatch it away from me. She's a year older and has picked on me all my life.
My eyes smarted from tears bunching up behind my eyelids. My blood was at a boiling point, ready to explode like a volcano. I tossed my lunch into the trashcan, picked up my books, and darted out of the lunchroom. I headed for the library because I didn't want to be found crying in a corner or the hallway. I plopped down at a table with my back to everything else. Kristin often told me to stick up for my rights. What rights? I was so mad that I wanted to get even.
"It's so unfair," I prayed silently. "What can I do?"
A verse that our pastor had talked about in church flashed through my mind. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44 KJV).
Already the hurt was building up inside me like a sore. I realized staying angry wouldn't affect Dineen at all, only me. But love her?
If I were going to get anywhere with my lessons today, I'd have to pray for her. At first it was hard. How should I pray? That she'd change? That God would punish her for her being so grabby? That didn't seem right either. I closed my eyes and prayed that I'd be able to love her.
I didn't expect the answer that God seemed to be saying. Alone in my corner of the library, I met the Lord in an unusual way. He pointed His finger right at my own heart, showing me that I needed to change my attitude. I needed to forgive Dineen. I needed to love Dineen and show His love through me.
I don't know if I forgave her right away, but I felt different when I finished praying. The afternoon went a little better and passed quickly.
As I walked toward my locker, Kristin came running toward me like someone who'd just won the lottery. "Laura, did you hear? God did it, we didn't have to."
"God did what?" Apparently she'd had an answer to prayer, but I wasn't prepared for her news.
"Dineen got hurt in PE this afternoon and was taken to the ER."
"What happened?" I opened my locker.
"I don't really know. I think she fell off the ropes or something. We don't have to get even, God did it for us. He's punishing her for being so…"
I didn't let Kristin finish. "No, God's not like that."
"Laura, aren't you going to stick up for your rights? I mean, look how she takes advantage of you."
"Do you know what, Kristin? I've forgiven Dineen."
"How can you forgive her?"
"I couldn't do it myself," I admitted. "When I left the lunchroom I went to the library to pray."
"You mean you got down on your knees? Right there in the library?"
"No, Kristin, you don't need to get down on your knees to pray. You can pray anywhere, anytime. I have forgiven Dineen and have peace about it."
"But the locket ... don't you want the locket?"
"Yes, that locket should be mine, but it's only a thing. I have many happy memories of my grandmother and Dineen can't take that away. How I feel in my heart is much more important."
Kristin was quiet and thoughtful. A grin spread itself across her face. "I'll bring you another cookie tomorrow."
I gave her a high five.