Important Things

shiny beads

She whined when I said the word beads. As always, I had failed to meet my mother’s exacting standards. The necklace I had given her—no matter how pretty—was made of nothing more than glass beads.

“I’m sorry, mother, but look how each one glistens in the light.”

“Beads? Oh, I’m sure they do. Mass-marketed babbles are meant to draw the attention of the poor away from more important things.”

Mother dropped the necklace back into the box and sat it on the table, then pushed it as far away as possible with one diamonded finger.

“Like blood diamonds, Mother?” My brother Scott asked. “And the cost in human lives of the rings on just one of your hands?”

Unphased, Mother said, “Yes, Scott, just like that or gun control or how the Mexicans are crossing the border in droves.” She waved away his snide remark. “Besides, my mother gave me those diamonds long before blood diamonds was even a term.”

“Just because it wasn’t common knowledge doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” Scott said as I shrank back in my seat, avoiding the whole conversation.

“Prove it,” Mother said, her steely eyes locked on Scott.

“Read history books, Mother.”

“Just like you to always make this about history,” Mother said.

And so went another Sunday brunch.

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