WE THOUGHT IT WAS LOST; gone for good. Probably laying in the sand, right on the edge of the world. To be gradually polished away to nothing, ground up, Time exacting His inexorable cost. It would still be there for a long while, of course, jade and gold don't just evaporate like morning mist, but gradually worn away to a nubbin, nobody would ever have noticed when at last it simply no longer existed. Or, winking in the sunlight to be pounced on by some disappointed sea bird or lucky little kid, maybe a beachcomber who might keep it or might toss it back. One earring alone isn't much good, after all.

Tumbling down your breast, one stone teardrop fell into my hand. Exploring fingers, apprehensive, felt the denuded flesh empty-unnoticed, the other had fallen sometime before. Maybe I could find its match, or, failing that a whole new pair just like it, but I wasn't holding out much hope-simply never giving up as usual for form's sake if nothing else. Keep trying even if it seems like a waste of time. I slipped it into my coat pocket to preserve it from the night.

They didn't know (inanimate artifacts no matter how much we value them can't know anything except the impression of skin and tools) but we did. We were sorry for them and for us, too. They had meant something special, otherwise you wouldn't have worn them, and now one mirror image jewel was lost forever. They were meant to be together, and that union had been snapped.

You didn't really lose it, after all-we just didn't know where it was. Following some mysterious course set by folds of cloth, shapes of bodies, it fell right into the opposite pocket from its mate, and there it sat, mutely awaiting my nearly unbelieving discovery, one in each hand now, not a reflection but actually there. Taking a minute for the tiny miracle to register, it turned out that I'd had it all along, a pair of scarlet tears and not only one. I linked them by their golden hoops and screwed the posts down tight.

Here they are again. Nothing is ever, really, lost. May 28, 1987