what was lost

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“Where the hell is my bracelet?” 

The shrieking which originated in Olivia’s room echoed down the stairway and was followed by the sound of her belongings hitting walls and falling to the floor. 

I knew exactly where the bracelet was, but there wasn’t a universe in which I was going to tell Olivia. Not today, anyway. Maybe someday, after she had spent months being nice to me, and I had something of my own that was nicer.

Olivia ran down the stairs. Her face was bright red and matched her new summer dress. She glared at me. 

“If I find out you took it, you’re going to wake up with four fewer fingers, do you understand?” 

“How would I sleep through you cutting off my fingers?”

She made and unmade fists with both hands, and I could tell she was trying very hard not to punch me. I worked equally hard not to smirk at her—I could feel it making its way up from my chin. I was grateful when she turned away to continue the search. 

After Olivia finished demolishing the kitchen, my mother called her back into the sitting room and comforted her by stroking her hair. As Olivia visibly relaxed, I could feel my stomach tighten. It had been years since my mother was that loving towards me.

“Sasha, Olivia can search your room,” my mother said, her eyes narrow and cold.

“What? No she can’t—are you crazy? I didn’t take it! She can’t go through all my things just because she lost her stupid bracelet!”

“Sasha—” said my mother, and it was enough. Her face was like stone. I understood the cost of not obeying would be severe. Olivia looked uneasy, but she was still mad. She seemed to be wondering if my mother’s threat would be enough to protect her if she dared search my room. It would, though I wished that wasn’t true.

“Go on, Olivia,” Mama said, and Olivia stood up without looking at me, and made her way upstairs. I followed, panicking. 

“I wouldn’t have hidden it in my room even if I did take it, Liv—I’m not an idiot!”

Olivia stood for a moment in the doorway of my room. I caught up to her and held her arm. 


She hesitated, but went inside.

She checked my dresser drawers first. She dug through socks and underwear tinged with grey, shirts and pants which once belonged to Olivia herself, skirts which were not in fashion, and a single dress in perfect condition, for church. She took the dress out and held it up, examining it, then looked down at her own dress, with its golden details reflecting the evening light from the windows. She carefully folded the dress and placed it back in the drawer. 

Olivia knelt down and peered under my bed. She pulled out a large cardboard box. I had stored many boxes of things from my childhood—drawings I made, report cards from school, and notes from friends. Several items were toys Olivia and I had shared as children.

Olivia opened the box and poured it’s contents onto the floor. There were some photographs and stuffed animals. She looked under the bed again and sighed. There were at least ten more boxes. She opened a couple more, but didn’t bother dumping them to search for the bracelet.

Olivia got up from the floor and sat on the bed. She turned on the small lamp on my bedside table and opened the drawer. Inside were some pens and a diary, which she put on the table. Beneath the diary, she found a photo of our father carrying me when I was about three years old. He was looking at me and smiling his big, warm-hearted smile. She held the photo in her lap and was quiet for a long time. I sat down beside her, but she didn’t react.

After a while, she put the photo back in the drawer and closed it. She turned to me, and I could see her eyes were red.

“Dad gave me that bracelet.” 

I already knew that, and didn’t know how to react, so I said nothing. 

Olivia sighed again. She stood and faced me. I looked up at her full of anxiety. Was she going to hit me now? She looked as though she wanted to say something, but her eyes were on the floor. I didn’t know what to do. 

“O-“ I began, but she turned and left the room, closing the door behind her. 

“It’s not in there, Mama,” I heard her shout down the stairs. 

I moved to the head of the bed and opened my side table drawer. I put my diary back on top of the photo of my father, and lined up my pens neatly beside it. Then, I removed Olivia’s delicate, gold bracelet from the drawer. I rolled it in my fingers before pulling it down over my wrist, twisting my arm to see the beautiful, shimmering reflections on the chain. The sun had set, and the room had become dim. I turned onto my back and stared at the ceiling until it was time for bed, then I reached over and turned out the light.

This story is my response to the January 28th prompt, “Write a 500 word story enriched with symbolism.”

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