A hammer blow echoed deep in the cavern and overwhelmed the near-silence. As it rang past the quavering ploinks of eons-old water in still pools, spreading its dark sail of sound over nameless grottos, it filled spaces, cracks and time unknown. The gem, now uncovered, was radiant in the dim light. She shone even more in contrast to the chafed skin, worn leather and battered fedora of the miner who freed her that night. He cupped her with a bared hand. She received the place of honor in the softest silk purse he carried.
For two years, she endured chipping, polishing, and subdividing and was again stored in a dark and dusty place. There were others of her variety nearby; they shared nothing but a common origin. No speech, no language. On the rare occasions that a lamp reflected its brief light near the shelf, there was a transient melding of their shared brilliance; rainbows of deja vu erased into shadow. The gem awaited the setting she had dreamed of. The once foreign nakedness became familiar .
Ten years later, she had now seen progeny molded into settings of their own. Through the crack in the cabinet, she could see them arranged on display, their beauty enhanced in the angled light. One evening a shadow came and blocked her view, and then they were gone.
Her own tumble toward glory finally arrived in the form of a thief. He spoke to her with kind words. He slipped her out of the darkness and into the setting he had prepared for his own devices. But she was glad to go. Was this now the glory for which she had been chiseled out decades ago?
Yet in his haste to pawn her for what he really wanted, he dropped her. It was one gray winter day, when she bounced into a steaming sewage grate just beyond the stoop of the jewelry shop.
And there she lay. For months. In a rancid liquid home, now, with the refuse, castoffs and detritus of a culture.
But as it happened, the miner had taken a second job with the sanitation department. So the very same muscled arm that had struck the echoing blow, now reached down into the muck. In the dark, again, he cleaned her, and spoke to her. He addressed her with tenderness; he said she was the same diamond he had hammered out so long ago. And some time later she beamed as he placed her in the tiara for which she had been destined...
For all of our sisters who have, out of desperation, welcomed thieves: There is one who comes again, however dark your night.