Beyond Words
(from February 2011 issue of Nashville Arts Magazine)
By Marshall Chapman

One of the most wonderful feelings in the world is the euphoria that follows being reunited with a treasured object you had given up for lost.

Take what happened a few weeks ago. I was at a hair salon in Green Hills having my hair washed. As I settled into the shampoo chair, I removed my pearl earrings, carefully placing them in the left pocket of my sweat pants. The earrings—a Christmas gift from my husband—are one of my most treasured possessions. I always remove them before having my hair shampooed. The thought of one of them coming loose and disappearing down the drain is more than I can bear.

After my hair appointment, I ran a few errands. Stops included Whole Body (next to Whole Foods), Macy’s (to replace a favorite tube of lip gloss—Bamboo Pink by Clinique), Walgreens, and Tye Dye Mary’s.

Fast forward to later that evening: I have just finished packing for an early morning flight and am starting to relax. As I prepare for bed, I reach up to remove my earrings. Only they aren’t there. Then I remember the sweatpants. I check the left pocket. Empty. I check the right pocket. Same thing. I go into red-alert, retracing in my mind all the places I’ve been. It’s ten o’clock. Too late to call the hair salon. I consider calling the owner who’s a good friend. Then decide to go look in my car which is parked on the street in front of our house. A sick feeling arises in my stomach. Damnit! I loved those earrings! They’re a part of me. Like an arm or a leg. How can I travel without them? I feel like I’m going to throw up.

I walk in the dark to my car, my winter coat over my pajamas. I open the door on the driver’s side. The dome light comes on. I feel around the driver’s seat. Then I see something reflecting light on the floor mat behind the seat. Could it be? Yes! It’s one of my pearl earrings. I can’t believe it! I quickly begin looking for the other one, but it’s not in the car. I try looking under the car, but it’s too dark to see. I go in the house and return with our big 6-D battery flashlight. I shine the flashlight under the car. Nothing. Then, just as I start to stand up, I notice something out in the middle of the street, reflecting light. Could it be? No way! But there it is! My other earring! I can’t believe my good fortune.

I make a silent vow to be very good for a very long time.