You Look Like a Million Bucks

In November my sister said to me, “Let’s go to South Coast Plaza to see the Christmas decorations.”

“Sure,” I said. “I’m a sucker for twinkle lights.”

Because of my sister’s rheumatoid arthritis, the walk from the car was painfully slow. Yet her step quickened when we entered the mall, and I soon discovered that she had something other than Christmas decorations in mind.

“I want to go a jewelry store,” she announced.

“Okay,” I said. “But you know the jewelry stores here are pretty high end.”

“Oh, I don’t want to buy anything,” she said. “I just like to look.”

That’s how we ended up at the renowned jeweler, Harry Winston. Entering the store, a hulking, stone-faced guard in a black uniform, locked eyes on us. I felt intimidated, like my every move was being watched, which of course, it was, but this didn’t bother my sister. She walked in confidently, went right up to a saleswoman, and said, “I’d like to see the most-expensive piece of jewelry in the store.”

I did not see that coming. That cringe-worthy line made my face turn a brilliant shade of embarrassment pink.

Without blinking, the stylish saleswoman, whose badge said she was a Sales Executive—replied, “Certainly. That would be our yellow diamond ring.”

She led us to a locked display case and brought out the ring. Every facet of the stone glistened under the bright store lights. “This stone is a cushion cut yellow fancy intense diamond.”

What language was she speaking?

“It weighs 10.28 carats, is surrounded by white diamonds, and is priced at nine-hundred and ninety thousand dollars.”

At least I think that’s what she said. The size of the stone dazzled me and my brain went a little mushy.

I felt surreal, like I’d been dropped into a Fellini film. We were all adults, and yet we all knew we were playing make-believe. My sister pretending she had the net worth to afford a million-dollar diamond and the sales executive, pretending my sister was her most important client.

“May I try it on?” my sister asked.

In a velvety voice the sales exec said, “Of course,” and directed us to sit.

From the moment my sister slipped on that diamond, a satisfied smile spread across her face.

“This ring was made for your hand,” the sales exec said. “I do not have the style to carry off such a stone, but you do.”

Tilting her hand from side to side, throwing sparks of light in all directions, my sister said, “If I win the lottery, this will be the first thing I buy.”

The woman handed my sister her gold-embossed card. “In case you do win, keep me in mind.”

As we left Harry Winston, maybe I imagined it, but my sister appeared taller and she seemed to walk a little easier. Her disease had retreated into the background and she floated on an endorphin cloud of make-believe happiness. I loved seeing her like that, until she said, “That was fun. Should we go to Tiffany’s next?”

The Naked Truth

cat-animal-eyes-grey-54632I feel weird getting naked in someone else’s home. I was spending the weekend with friends, and decided to take a shower before bed. From inside the bathroom I could hear my hosts talking, and there I stood, one door away—stark naked.

Suddenly I flashed on the first time I had to get naked in front of people, an event that traumatized me for life—my first day of junior high gym.

Continue reading “The Naked Truth”

Step Aside Cougars

leopard-cat-savuti-botswana-37535We’ve all heard of cougars, those 40-something female predators who stalk bars, hoping to sink their finely sharpened claws into the tender flesh of innocent young men. Luckily, these modern-day Mrs. Robinsons—who’ve exchanged their garter belts for Spanx—have been exposed by the media and are now easily avoided. But young men, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet because there is a new danger out there, lurking in cafes and restaurants, preying on your naiveté, dining out on your trust. They’re called leopards.

Continue reading “Step Aside Cougars”