When I was in elementary school, I received a house key for the days when my mother would not be home when I got there. (Our "house key" was actually a big skeleton key, but that is a story for another time.) I had a key chain for that one key, and my dad gave me the smaller of the two roller bearings to put on it, as well. I was so proud and excited! Other kids had house keys, but no one had ever even seen anything like my roller bearing.
Although even as a child, I was not prone to losing things, I lost that key chain. It is not an exaggeration to say that I was devastated. I didn't care so much about the house key, but my roller bearing was gone. My dad walked the five blocks back to school with me, searching all the way there and back, but we never found it.
He always kept the remaining roller bearing in his top dresser drawer, but whenever he would let me take it out, it only served to remind me of the one I had lost. When I was at his house earlier this week, he started to tease me about losing that roller bearing, and I think my response surprised him. "I still feel bad about that!" I told him. "I can't believe I lost it. I never lose things." It was my turn to be surprised by what he said next, "Well, would you like to have the other one?" I looked towards my brother and asked him, "Would you mind if I had it?" "No, I don't care," was his immediate reply. "I think it's in my room, actually. Let me get it for you." He gave me the roller bearing.
I look at the roller bearing from time to time where it sits on my desk as I write this. I pick it up, feel its familiar heft in my hand, and spin the rollers. It's not as shiny and smooth as I remember it, but it is, after all, almost fifty years older. I don't know if I can articulate how much it means to me to have this here. I hope this post will serve to do that.