. . . okay, this is ridiculous, I know that, but I am in mourning.
In the summer of 1997, I worked on an Earthwatch project in South Shields, England, doing archaeological excavation on the Roman fort of Arbeia. While I was there, I purchased a keychain in a local shop: a little Roman shield, rectangular and curved, with wings and lightning bolts and a round central boss, painted red and gold. The keychain being rather on the cheap side, the paint began flaking off in short order, but that was okay; the decoration was stamped into the steel, so I just stripped off the remainder of the paint and kept it plain.
This has been My Keychain for, effectively, my entire life. I never bothered with a keychain before then, and I’ve never used another since; I am not the sort of person who keeps twelve tchotchkes strung on the ring. The whole packet right now consists only of house key, mail key, bike key, car key, and the shield.
Or it did, until tonight.
Tonight, when I pulled my keys from my jeans pocket, the ring at the top of the shield broke clean through.
For years, I’ve been worried that some day I would lose my keys — worried not because I’d be locked out of the house, but because the shield would be gone. This is better; I still have it. But my husband can vouch for the utterly tragic look on my face when I realized, standing in the front hall, that it had broken beyond repair.
What will I do?
I’ll keep the shield, of course. The scoring down the center of the lightning bolts and marking the feathers on the wings has nearly been worn off; the curve of the shield has almost been mashed flat. It was never meant to survive thirteen and a half years of constant use. It’s a relic of my first dig, though, and my first solo international trip, and my love of all things Roman; no way is it going in the trash. The real question is what I do about my keys. They’re still on a ring, with what’s left of the chain; the clasp on that is so fused, I may have to cut it off. But I don’t know what I’ll do for a keychain. Do I need one? Do I want one? Maybe I need a mourning period for the old one first. I have no idea what could possibly replace it in my affections.
Yes, I’m mourning my freaking keychain. So what. It was a dear old friend, and I’m sorry to see it go.