The clock carried on its soldier-like rhythm, commanding its silent time to march ever forwards with strict discipline. No second came too quick, and not a single moment was left behind.
The silver bracelet sat patiently on the table, unassuming and polite. I stared at it and it stared back, neither of us speaking. It was perfectly calm under my gaze, not a care nor a trouble bothering it. I wished I could feel the same way. Instead, I was stuck there staring at a bracelet, waiting for it to speak.
Come on, come on, I thought wearily. What are your secrets? It had made the effort to nominate itself as the key to unlocking my adventure, and yet now it was acting completely uncooperative. It refused to speak to me and that was getting on my nerves. I couldn’t read its mind, so how else was I supposed to know what it was all about?
The house creaked, breaking the quiet nighttime blanket, and the clock paused to let the sound pass. I held my breath, feeling time slow as the house worked out its stiff joints, and then exhaled when it settled and the clock resumed. I glanced down at the bracelet. Still just sitting there. Still refusing to talk.
“Do you realize how much trouble you’re giving me?” I asked the silver band in my head. “First, you volunteer to be the start of my adventure, and then you won’t tell me anything about why you’re the start! I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with something, and you won’t say a word.”
The bracelet stared at me.
“Well?” I said, “What do you have to say for yourself?”
There was a pause, and then, “What’s wrong?”
At last, the bracelet was speaking to me!
“What’s wrong?” I echoed, relieved yet exasperated. “Haven’t you been listening? I told my readers that you would be the start of my adventure, and that I would unravel all your secrets, but you haven’t said anything. You’re being stubborn and unhelpful, and it’s been driving me mad!”
The bracelet seemed to shrug. “Do I have to say anything?”
“How else am I supposed to figure you out if you don’t say anything?”
It paused. “You tell me, and I’ll tell you.”
I sighed and stopped typing. “All right,” I said aloud, and picked up the bracelet in the palm of my hand. I held it at eye level, studying it close up, trying to figure out what it meant. What did it symbolize? How was it going to spark an adventure?
Confused and getting nowhere fast, I slipped it on my wrist and let it settle there, in its familiar place. It felt heavier at that moment, as if it somehow had more weight. I looked at it, still not understanding what I needed to learn. Taking in its solidity, I persevered. I would figure this out, I just really needed to listen.
Closing my eyes, I did just that.
“What are you about to do?” the bracelet asked, pressing gently against my arm.
“I’m about to start a new adventure,” I answered.
“And what about your old adventures? Your past experiences?” it prompted.
I smiled. “They’re coming with me. I never leave the memories of past adventures behind.”
At this, the bracelet said nothing, but it remained heavy on my wrist. It had a constant pressure that was familiar–something I experienced every day–but yet felt so new when I paid attention to it. It was always there, but never grew old. It refused to speak on the outside, but spoke very wisely on the inside.
I heard someone quote on TV today, “In order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been.”
I’ve been a lot of places, as most people have. If I’m going to start this new adventure, then I’ll have to first remember all my past adventures–what they’ve taught me and what they mean to me.
My bracelet isn’t as much a key to the future as I thought it was. Instead, it’s a tie to the past, keeping all of the places I’ve been with me so that I can go forwards. Like an old friend, it brings with it comfort and familiarity, and is always by my side.
I still don’t know exactly where I’m going, but I’m a little more confident now that I finally figured out why the bracelet was my first step. I just need to trust my own feet, and remember how to listen.
Be silent right now–what do you hear?
May you always know where you’ve been, and have the peace of mind to listen carefully.