Day 1 (Wednesday)
I was showering when my wife barged into our master bathroom screaming, “I lost it! I lost it! I can’t find it!”
“What, Lori, your sex drive?” I responded sarcastically.
“No, I lost that a long time ago!” she responded. “Marc, you are such an asshole sometimes! I’m talking about my diamond! I lost my diamond! I can’t find my diamond! Get out of the shower and help me look for it!”
I immediately jumped out of the shower and shouted, “You lost your diamond? When did you lose it?”
The missing diamond was a nearly flawless 2 carat rock I bought over 18 years ago when I proposed to Lori. She loved this diamond. I loved the fact that Lori loved it.
Lori and I divorced over ten years ago. In fact, we’re still divorced, but recently reconciled. I still affectionately refer to her as my wife.
Soon after we divorced, Lori removed the diamond from her wedding band and re-set it into a beautiful diamond pendant necklace. Despite our time apart, newfound lives, and the animosity that manifests from a divorce, I would always glance at her neck area to confirm that she was still wearing the diamond. I took strange comfort in knowing that even after our divorce, she still held the diamond close to her heart. I sheepishly felt that maybe I wasn’t too far from her heart either. The diamond became my personal symbol of hope.
“How did you lose it?” I questioned.
“I don’t know! I don’t know!” screamed Lori. “I went on a run this morning and halfway into my run I noticed the diamond wasn’t bouncing off my chest as it usually does. I reached for it and immediately realized it was gone!”
Lori loved to run and the diamond played an important analytical role in Lori’s runs — The faster she ran, the higher the diamond bounced. According to Lori’s running methodology, if the diamond hit her chin for five continuous minutes, her run had been respectable.
“Then you must have lost the diamond while running.” I said.
“Not sure. The diamond could have fallen from its clasp before my run.”
The diamond had been secured around Lori’s neck with an eagle-like claw clasp for almost eight years.
“Marc, please help me look for it!” Lori pleaded.
“Let’s retrace your exact steps from the moment you woke up this morning.” I began, trying to bring some calm to the situation.
Lori vividly remembered that the diamond had been around her neck last night, as it was uncomfortably digging into her neck in the middle of the night.
“Well, I dressed into my running outfit on my side of the bed, then went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I walked downstairs to the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee. After I replied to a couple of emails, I went out the front door to start my run.” Lori recalled.
Lori and I first inspected our unmade bed. The comforter had somehow balled up during the night, and we carefully unraveled it and thoroughly examined every square inch. We then slowly stripped the sheets. I naively expected to find the diamond lodged on Lori’s side of the bed and quickly put an end to this fire drill. No such luck.
We looked under the bed. But still no luck.
We then combed the carpet area on Lori’s side of the bed. Unfortunately, we had a textured carpet where a 2 carat diamond could comfortably remain unnoticed for quite some time, unless painfully stepped on with bare feet. I crawled on my hands and knees, probing every centimeter of carpet between our master bedroom and the kitchen. I came up empty on my first attempt. I re-crawled the same carpeted path a second time, but still no diamond. I painstakingly repeated the same nose-to-carpet bloodhound process two more times, but the diamond was not to be found.
“The diamond is not in the house.” I finally conceded three hours later.
“The diamond must have fallen from my clasp while I was running.” Lori moaned.
I quickly called my office to let them know I had a family emergency, and I wouldn’t be coming into the office. I knew if I didn’t apply my full energy to finding the diamond, Lori would kick my ass. Then again, she wouldn’t have to — honestly, if we didn’t find the diamond, I’d be kicking my own ass.
Lori was an awesome runner — she could run 7–10 miles with ease. I had no idea how far she’d run this morning. If she did lose the diamond on her run, we could be searching several miles.
“Now that I think about it, the diamond had been a little loose in its clasp since last week,” Lori remembered. “The jarring motion of a run may have popped it out!”
“The diamond could be literally anywhere between our house and the point I realized the diamond was not bouncing off my chest,” Lori sighed, her shoulders slumping a little lower.
“How far had you run when you realized it was missing?” I asked.
Lori looked down and up, gulped back tears, and said, “Two miles.”
“The odds of finding the diamond are not in our favor, but we have to look for it,” I said determinedly.
The time was a little after 1:00PM. We still had plenty of daylight ahead of us and the sun was shining brightly to aid our two-man search party.
Lori preferred to run in the street, not on the sidewalk — it was softer on the knees, she would say.
Today, with the constant commotion, Lori had a difficult time remembering the exact side of the street she had run on this morning. We decided to carefully walk Lori’s probable with-traffic running route.
Of course, neither Lori nor I had experience in finding a gone missing expensive gem on a public street. I felt sad for us. We were searching for a needle in a hay field — not just a haystack, but a whole hay field.
Passersby noticed our peculiar slow-walking, head-down, detective-like movements and naturally asked what we were doing. We didn’t dare mention we were on a mission to find a 2 carat diamond. For starters, we definitely did not need any competition in finding the diamond. On a self-conscious level, we preferred perfect strangers not to think of us as the completely nuts divorced couple. A little nuts was fine, but we had to draw the line somewhere.
We eventually walked the entire with-traffic running route with no diamond in hand.
That night, Lori and I decided any additional search and recover efforts in locating the diamond would end in heartache and, quite frankly, wasting more time would just add insult to injury.
We decided to focus our energies on contacting local newspapers and police and fire departments. We hoped a saintly soul might have found the diamond and turned it in to local authorities. That was our last and only practical hope.
Day 2 (Thursday)
My Mom arrived in the morning by train for a visit and I picked her up at the train station as planned. She knew immediately that I was preoccupied by estranged thoughts.
“Are you okay, son?” she asked.
“I’m fine. Everything is fine, Mom,” I responded. “But, Lori lost her diamond yesterday, probably while she was out running.”
“The diamond you bought when you asked her to marry you?” my mom questioned.
“Yes, that diamond.”
“Oh no, son. I’m so sorry. I know that diamond meant a lot to you both, and I know it cost a pretty penny too,” she said.
My mom was always cool, calm, and collected. She had no other approach to life. She had a knack for turning shitty situations into learning opportunities, which firmly cemented her position, year after year, as the best mom in the world.
“What are you going to do? Have you and Lori tried to find it?” she asked.
“Yes mom. We retraced the entire route that Lori ran yesterday, but we didn’t find it,” I said.
“That’s good, son. I’m glad you’re trying to find it. Let me ask you this, is the diamond still insured?” my mom asked.
I had to think about her question for a few seconds, because I didn’t actually know the answer to her practical, almost obvious, question. For the remainder of the car ride home from the train station, I thought we had a partial solution to the problem. The more I thought about my mom’s question, the more convinced I became that the diamond was insured.
We had the diamond insured for the entire ten years we were officially married. As we pulled into the driveway, I vaguely remembered from a conversation with Lori that she had unilaterally decided to suspend the diamond’s insurance coverage.
I entered the house. Lori was in the kitchen — sexy as always, but noticeably sad. She’s typically an upbeat person, full of energy, always talking… and I mean always talking. Today, she seemed like a different person, carrying the weight of the world on her mind.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” I asked her quietly.
“Sure?” Lori responded inquisitively.
After Lori greeted my Mom and visited with her for a few minutes, Lori and I went upstairs.
“What’s up?” Lori asked.
“Is the diamond still insured?” I asked.
Lori looked right at me, almost through me. I got the strange feeling she’d hoped the dreadful insurance question wouldn’t enter my mind.
“No, I stopped paying for the insurance plan a few years ago. The diamond isn’t insured,” Lori said.
I knew the chances were very slim the diamond was still insured, but I had to ask. She clearly felt guilty for not maintaining the insurance plan, but I hadn’t asked her about it since we reconciled, so it was my fault as much as hers.
“Okay, Love. No worries. We will continue searching for the diamond,” I said gently.
Day 3 (Friday)
I went to work Friday Morning. Everything seemed out of place, including me.
I felt incredibly low, almost hopeless, but I felt worse for Lori. The diamond meant a lot to me, but I knew it meant more to her.
I had another disturbing thought. Deep down inside, I wondered what would happen if we couldn’t find the diamond; maybe our reconciliation efforts would be over, too. I was concerned that Lori would interpret losing the diamond as a spiritual sign that our reconciliation was not meant to be.
In the afternoon, Lori called the local authorities again and asked whether a 2 carat diamond had been turned in. She didn’t receive good news.
I arrived home shortly after 6:00PM and we had a nice family dinner. Lori and I didn’t talk much about the diamond that evening. Our kids went to bed around 9:00PM.
The kids had been asleep for about thirty minutes when I asked Lori if she wanted a drink.
“Of course,” she responded before I could finish my question.
After a couple of glasses of wine, Lori was in better spirits.
“I know this might sound crazy, but I think we should go look for the diamond right now,” Lori blurted out.
“Right now?” I raised an eyebrow. “It’s pitch black outside. We won’t be able to see anything right now.”
“I bought two ultra-bright LED flashlights this afternoon, one for you and one for me. I think these high-powered flashlights will make the diamond sparkle brightly at night,” she almost grinned, and her eyes twinkled for the first time since the diamond went missing.
Feeling the liquid courage from the wine, I responded like any good husband should: “Sure, let’s do it!”
We bounded out the front door, both armed with an ultra-bright LED flashlight in one hand, and a very full glass of wine in the other hand.
Even though we were slightly tipsy, we remembered to alternate our route and search the against-traffic side of the street this time.
Lori and I agreed that she should walk a few feet in front of me. We didn’t have a good reason for that decision, but it made sense at the time.
The flashlights were astonishingly bright; even pieces of broken glass sparkled like diamonds. I worried that our search would be consumed by a million false positives.
Almost a quarter mile into our search, I noticed what I thought was a crumpled Wrigley gum aluminum foil wrapper lying on the asphalt about six feet away from the curb. I thought nothing of it, but I picked it up anyway. As I pinched the object between my thumb and index finger, I noticed it was too heavy, too important to be a wadded up aluminum foil gum wrapper. I suddenly realized I was looking at the backside of our diamond’s memory frame. I was in a state of absolute shock. We had found the diamond!
In an emotional voice, as I held the diamond in front of my flashlight’s bright beam, I mouthed the most amazing words of my life: “Lori, are you looking for this?”