Sometimes when you let me stay the night,
There was a ring sitting out on the top of your dresser,
Its stone was like nothing I had ever seen,
The light caught its rounded surface,
And blazed back.
I knew diamonds, and could name rubies or emeralds,
Even sapphires and pearls.
I couldn’t tear my eyes from its flickering,
Each moment I moved, the light caught it in
A new way, shimmering more colors my way.
What is it?
An opal, you said.
I was ruined for diamonds from that day forward.
They seemed cheap with their one note sparkles.
And rubies? Too much red.
Emeralds were fine, so long as they weren’t huge or
Clustered together in strange, cubic shapes.
Sapphires and pearls might win me over, but
Nothing, nothing, nothing ever compared to opals.
You weren’t working when I was that little, not in the strict sense.
Your days were full of the brightness of volunteering,
Your quiet joy seeping into the hallways of the local hospital.
Everyone knew you and your smile.
I think you could have made an old parked car feel better about its day
Just by talking to it.
There was a different group or person to love every day.
And when you weren’t loving, you were thinking about how to do it.
The fire of your affection knew no bounds.
It traveled mile after mile to me in care packages and cards and voice mails that you left just because.
That was the thing about your love. Distance can not drown it,
And time does not quench its embers.
Its flame is quiet and steady,
Burning on the coldest days
As well as the warmest ones.
It shimmered into my memory, my heart, my being,
Blazing with its declaration,
“I love you, sweetheart.”
I wear it now, around my neck:
Beautiful, fiery, magical.
Just like you.