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  • I sat alone on our bed, the dog curled up beside me as I sorted through my jewelry. Weeks of just dropping earrings and bracelets here and there had created a mess. I have to do this every couple of months and every time I make a promise to myself that I won't let it get like this again. I was surprised when he walked into the bedroom and laid down across the bottom of the bed and watched me. I knew it would not be long before the engineer in him reached out to help, all that sorting and matching is just his thing.

    I ended up with a small pile of loner earrings. This always happens. I drop them behind the dresser, leave one behind while visiting someone, place one in the car or my purse. But because I make most of my earrings I save them, either to take apart and use the beads in something else, or to make another one to match.

    "You can wear these in your extra hole," he said, so proud of himself for thinking of that.

    "What extra hole?" I ask.

    Yes, 35 years ago when he was in grad school and we had just gotten married, I had one hole in my left ear. A girl friend did it for me in her bathroom as the afternoon sun came in through her window. We had drank too much wine and probably had smoked a little weed. She placed an ice-cube on my ear to numb it, and then put a piece of soap behind my ear to catch the needle; the sharp sewing needle we had first heated up with a match to sterilize. She struggled some, but soon managed to poke it through my ear into the soap. I still remember the squirt of the blood. I had to sit down on the toilet. We both sobered up quickly, laughing, but I would not let her do the other one. So for a few years I did have one hole in my left ear. I let it fill in a few years later.

    Then a little over nine years ago, I lost my hair to cancer and decided I needed to wear really great earrings so people would not notice my bald head. So one afternoon I went to the mall and had both my ears pierced again. This time by a professional, under florescent light with a staple-like gun. I remember it clearly, having them place the diamond studs in both my ears, the ones he had bought me for our 15th wedding anniversary.

    I looked at him as he laid on the bed, and I quickly covered my ears with my hands. My hair is still short so he can clearly see my earlobes everyday. And while there are many days I don't wear make up, I always wear two fun pair of earrings. Every. Single. Day.

    "How many holes do I have in my ears?" I asked.... he knew he was caught.

    "Two? No, three, none?" he answered, knowing that whatever he said would make me feel bad.

    "You know I have a tattoo right?" I asked as I got up off the bed and left the room.

    Sometimes I feel invisible.
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