My son swims silently up to me in deep green water strung with copper weed which gets tangled in my hair so that for hours later I will be picking bits from my scalp along with granulated sugar grains of white sand.

He grips me about my waist and surfaces, laughing at  my spluttering at the unexpectedness of it.

When I try to do the same though – when I try to take him by shark-like suprise – he turns to face me and smiles through the glass of his mask.

How did you know I was here, I ask?

Your bracelets, Ma, he explains, ”I can hear them jangling under the water”.

I wear nine  thin silver bangles on my right arm and two bronze ones. The latter are snake bracelets. Hat gave them to me. To protect me, she explained, given my penchant for treading on same.

Ah yes. I say.

When my son was small he said the sound of my rattling bracelets, as I tiptoed (somewhat uselessly given the jangling) around the house at night was reassuring. It meant, he said, that Mum was close by. Now he says the noise serves as a warning and gives him time to collapse the game he’s playing on his laptop and replace it with an English essay which he squints at earnestly.

I had not considered my whereabouts was always so easily traced, even under the pillowing weight of cool jade and cobalt blue water.

I ask my husband, ‘does the sound of my bangles bother you at night?’ I ought, perhaps, given we have been married for twenty years to have asked sooner, ‘are you aware of them?’.

‘I was once’, he said, ‘not anymore though’. Unless I am not there. Like now. For then he cannot hear them. Sometimes silence is very loud.

On my right hand I wear a heavy silver and aquamarine ring.  It was my grandmother’s. She was given it in India by somebody whom she had befriended, been kind to. 

I wonder if that’s why I have chosen silver to pot as new jam

I’m in England to do a course to learn how to work with it.

I am quite hopeless with my hands. Rolling pastry defeats me; I avoid it except at Christmas time and then I scowl crossly at mince pie making, and the dough sweats anxiously at my frustrated and impatient touch.   I am hoping silver will be more compliant, forgiving.


I hope my fondness of it, my familiarity with it, will make the learning less difficult. I am plunging deep and far from my comfort zone. Amongst people I have never met. And a long way from home.

It’ll be fun, says Hat who looks tall and composed. Taller. More composed than I remember. And I smile.

She’s usually right. And she is wearing, I notice, a new silver bracelet of her own.

25 Responses to “Silver”

  1. Maternal Tales Says:

    What a beautifully written post. Noises are like smells I think – they remind us of a moment in time.

  2. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you Maternal T, and for reading. Yes I agree: noises and smells. The hot hiss of cicadas always remind me of childhood holidays. The smell of Elizabeth Arden’s moisturising cream of my mother who always used it when I was little. Such a comforting scent.

  3. Maternal Tales Says:

    When I smell Imperial Leather soap it reminds me of my Mother and I think she uses it because it reminds her of her Mother…

  4. R. Sherman Says:

    There are so many things about my wife, which I don’t remember until she’s away. As you say, the silence of the absence is quite loud.


  5. Jo Says:

    I remember my mother’s jangly earings and the smell of her perfume as she got ready to go to the theatre with my father.
    It’s amazing what triggers a memory.
    Again, really enjoyed the beautiful post.

  6. Miranda Says:

    Ah yes, I also remember my mothers jangling bracelets and how comforting that sound was.

  7. ann Says:

    Memories can be so subtle can’t they? I can be in the middle of something wonderful and catch myself thinking “is this going to be a memory”. Sometimes it can be the most mundane that sticks in the mind and the “memorable” goes. It’s a funny old life!

  8. janelle Says:

    oh me too…bells on my toes, rings on my fingers and bangles galore galore!!!! jingle jangle wherever i go…love ’em! beautiful post..could hear the tinkling through the words and the sea…hooah. xxx j

  9. black mzungu Says:

    memories are to cherish, and to hold on to forever, l still remember the fresh jasmin on my mamas khanga it lingers on and on. even though I tried to do the same it does not smell the same I guess that what memories are for!

  10. Kit Says:

    Good luck with the silver working – it sounds like it will be more compliant than pastry – more akin to your successful weaving of words, that thread beautiful patterns to make sense of life for us all.

  11. Iota Says:

    Different doors and gates. They all have such a familiar and unique sound. Decades later, we would recognise the sound immediately.

    Enjoy the silver course. Sounds great.

  12. david mcmahon Says:

    I grew up and was educated in India and both my novels deal in large part with that country.

    You’re right about the way we connect memories to sound. VERY right.

    In which part of India did your grandmother live? From memory, I visited your blog once, some months ago …..

  13. Eliza Says:

    hi there, long time no speak. i am so excited about this course, and can’t wait to see the jewelery you make. i am sure it is going to be beautiful!! see you when you’re back – karibu fair? xxx

  14. Mom de Plume Says:

    Hi RM, the silver crafting sounds fascinating, I bet you will be so creative with it! I hope you don’t mind but I have tagged you in a meme that is doing the rounds, please pop over to my blog to have a look, when you get a moment!

  15. kathleen Says:

    Love your story about the jangle of your silver. I love silver and wear silver bangels from Mexico all the time, never thought about the noise tho am so used to them. Have fun with the silver making I just recently read about making jewelry with wrap around 925 silver, if I could find some I would attempt it. I could hear the jangle of the silver and the waves from the sea in your story.

  16. nuttycow Says:

    I always remember the “clink” of my mother taking out her pearl earrings and putting them on her bedside table (which had a glass top) as well as her purfume (which I now wear)

    Imperial Leather is also another one… is this something that all grandparents *have* to have in their bathrooms?

    Please let us see how you’re getting on with your silver work 🙂

  17. Tash Says:

    Mum, as you probably remember, would wear a few clunky silver bangles, and I remember the noise as she brushed my hair. Hated the smell though – that metallic smell – which is why I don’t wear them myself. But – like the others above, so many wonderful frangrances take me back in time to different stages of my childhood, in the days Mum used hairspray – you rarely smell it these days, but when I do, I can almost see Mum, eyes closed, hand up to her face, spraying a cloud around her! Onion-y fingers – after she’d been cooking and brushed my hair from my forehead, and there was that scent of home-cooking on her hands – just faint, and promising… cigarettes, of course, which I hated… but other lovely ones, creams, perfume, some foods. Latterly – when she was ill, it was the wild, heady fragrances of her garden – now, each year when I cut back her lemonbalm, I can feel her sitting next to me on the lawn… And then there are scents she couldn’t take, when she was ill – couldn’t filter through her failing system, so they made her ill – like molten tar on roads – and I can’t abide the smell either now – for her sake my early warning system kicks in, and I move away, move whoever I’m with away from the fumes… Yes – smell’s the one above all the other senses, which really evokes memories for me…
    Am flying over tonight (was meant to be last night but flight cancelled after 6 hours on board – Imprecise BA)… Let’s be in touch xx

  18. carol Says:

    I could have told you that you can’t sneak up on Ben in the sea! Your jangley bracelets let me know where you were when we had that fantastic morning of goggling. Do hope the silver course is going well? And that Hat and Granny are enjoying the sewing!! Talk soon.

  19. Janine Says:

    What a wonderful picture you paint…what a snapshot of a beautiful life! You draw me into your world…and for a few moments I completely forget myself in the beauty of the jingling silver! Thank you! This is beautiful! Congrats on POTD!

  20. Julie Says:

    My goodness you have talent with imagery! I could “see” everything you describes as though watching it happen through my own eyes. The mark of a talented writer I think. Thank-you!

  21. Indrani Says:

    So well written, I could almost visualize it.
    I am here from David’s. Congrats!

  22. janelle Says:

    hello darlin’ – i tagged you chez moi..hope you well? lots love toujours xxx j

  23. Bush Mummy Says:

    I feel embarrassed tagging you with this but couldn’t resist it..

    BM x

  24. ann Says:

    Come on over to my place I’ve cooked you a chicken

  25. Mapesbury Mum Says:

    Hey – hope you’re enjoying the course, look forward to seeing the results…We’re back, my mobile with your numbers is in mobile heaven so call the landline when you get a chance…

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