The first night she went out with him, he called her a pink diamond. She thought a pink diamond sounded like something tawdry and fake, so her mind went straight to the gutter of unworthiness. It was easy for her to go there. She thought it must be a reference to female genitalia, some code-speak between him and his boys. But he seemed cool, and she had a nice night. He didn’t even end up wanting to have sex. All they did was get stoned, get drive-through Burger King and sit at the top of Mount Eden talking shit.
She googled pink diamonds when she got home and felt really stupid because pink diamonds are a real thing. She’d never heard of them. Definitely never seen one. Apparently, they’re the rarest – thus the most valuable – kind of diamond. So, then she felt really good. She thought he must have called her that because he thought she was rare and valuable.
Despite what that song said, diamonds don’t actually last forever. You Googled it.
‘Most natural diamonds have ages between one billion and three-point-five billion years.’ (Apparently.)
So, anyway, that song, the one about diamonds lasting forever? That song’s a fucking lie.
When he used to tell you he could imagine being with you forever, it felt like you were easing your body down into a hot pool. The only things on your mind were rocks and minerals. You could relax, finally. You didn’t need to worry anymore. Someone or something literally had your back. The earth was rising up to meet you, holding you in her cradle. (You were loved?)
But now you feel so stupid. Even the earth won’t last forever. There will come a time, unimaginable to you, when the earth’s crust will hold no weight, will be wildly dispersed by some entropic principle you don’t understand but makes total sense, is even attractive somehow. If we’re all guided by entropy – entropic beings, if you will – then someday you won’t have to worry or love anymore. Everything will be like diamonds. Diamonds don’t care if they’re valued or loved.
Here are some of the lies you’ve been told:
fairy tales, diamond rings, Christian metaphysics ie, unchanging God.
That stuff runs deep, though.
So, when things start changing
like they’re supposed to,
it frightens people.
Masks come off.
Claws come out.
You already know the details.
I’ve heard that every seven years, we become a totally new person. As in, our cells are totally renewed and transformed. I imagine that must include our memory cells.
Is memory contained in cells? Sounds like being in prison. Maybe every seven years you get to escape, have your slate wiped clean. That’s actually a thing. A policy. You get to start again. That’s good. That’s fair and kind and good.
But sometimes I wonder, if our memory cells get renewed, how can we remember anything at all? (And isn’t that such a great fantasy? All the embarrassing, horrible stuff you’ve done? Gone. Never thought about again. Never learned from. Actually, maybe that sounds like a nightmare.) If our memory cells get renewed, how can we have any continued sense of identity? Maybe we can’t. There are tons of theories about this. Whole systems of belief stem from the illusion of self. Memory, identity; maybe it’s all just fiction.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how we’re of the earth. Same as rocks, minerals, diamonds. But we’re not the same. I mean, does a diamond have total cell renewal every seven years? It doesn’t appear to. It appears to stay the same. Hard. Unyielding. Unchanging. (Uncaring.) Diamonds stay diamonds for literally ages. (So, by that logic, it would be harder for you to forgive them for their transgressions.)
Pink diamonds are, apparently, the rarest, thus the most valuable kind of diamond. Some people would probably consider them to be more valuable than a human life.
(You’re not a pink diamond. You still have something in common with them, though. Once upon a time you were arbitrarily assigned value by a man whose memory and identity gets broken down every seven years.
Even though he appears to be hard, unyielding, static, uncaring, he’s not. In virtue of being human he’s not. Still, he once told another human being she was like something that couldn’t think or feel, that couldn’t know when it was being touched, that would never object to anything at all.
But maybe he changed too.)
The whole new-you-every-seven-years theory, though. It’s probably true, but it doesn’t feel true. Experientially. (If we’re changing all the time, why do you feel so stuck?) I believe it must be true because I believe what scientists, and Google, tell me. (You also believe in love and forgiveness.)
Incidentally, and contrary to popular belief, Google told me that diamonds can be damaged, but only if they’re hit hard enough. And apparently, they’re more susceptible to damage if they have an inherent flaw. (You like them more after you read that.
You wish that every seven years you felt as transformed as you allegedly are. You wish your worn-out memory was turned into bouncy new baby cells with new wide eyes to gulp everything in cleanly, without judgement.
You found out something else while you were Googling. Not every cell in our body is renewed. Apparently, the cells in our eyes never change. We’re stuck with them for life. You thought that might be why it’s so hard to change the way we see the world, and people. And why, even though it’s totally irrational, and even if you do see one with your own eyes, you’ll never believe in pink diamonds.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Penny Pickard has had many incarnations including but not limited to being a high-fashion model, a philosophy major and an early childhood kaiako. She hopes to add published novelist to the list.