“This is your necklace. It was once mine, given to me by my mother. The cool blue stone set in silver is to remind you of the moon and ocean. Return to the water for clarity. Ask the moon for its knowledge. This necklace is blessed by fire, earth, water and air. You are the fifth element. When you wear it, always know you are part of a wider family. Not all members you’ll ever know but all members will help. You only need to ask. Set it upon your neck with pride, it will guide you. Your body is water and your mind free like air. One day you will return to the earth as it welcomes you back, but your fire will always remain.”
When my great-grandfather died he left my brother his war medals. A few years later my great-grandmother passed away, on my 16th birthday, leaving me this letter and necklace. I was the second of two boys so naturally my mother had always wanted a girl. Spending my time tucked into the female nook of the family. While my brother relished in the masculine sports of hunting and tormenting me. I was by no means unable to protect myself against them, I just always thought it to be a waste of time. They enjoyed hunting animals as much as I enjoyed nursing them back to health. We had nothing in common except the love for our family.
The funeral day arrived so quickly. We all got to say goodbye to her one last time before travelling to my house for the wake.
Pulling me into a spare room my grandmother watched as I unfolded the letter, letting the jewel inside slip into my hand. Patiently my grandmother waited for me to finish reading.
“Henrietta never took that off. I know she waited many years to see you wear it.” My grandmother always had a way to warm you even with the smallest of smiles.
“I’ll keep it with me all the time.” I was sixteen and already a bit odd, I didn’t need any more reasons for my dad and brother to give me a hard time.
“I always wanted to wear it, so did my four brothers. Tumus, you can wear it and hide it under your shirt, just promise me you’ll put it on, please?” It was only recently I was beginning to see how fragile my, once strong grandmother, was becoming. I couldn’t upset her. Opening the clasp, I let the cold silver mark my neck, meekly smiling back at her.
“There, nana would have been proud. She also left you this book. It never left her side even when she was in hospital. It is yours now.”
Standing up she dropped the book into my hand and left. Blue with paisley silver etchings. The words Elements and Their Nature scribbled on the front. Every page smelt like jasmine, just like her. Unlike Henrietta the pages were fragile. Turning them was too risky.
Taken from the first page of The Fifth Element, something I’m currently working on.