Garnet & Jewel: The Side-Eye

The sun was beginning to rise as Garnet took to her favorite spot. From her cozy chair nestled in the corner of the living room, she could see the sky transforming from darkness to light. Although most of the trees were now bare from shedding their skin, they still stood so majestic – their branches now wide open as if extending a warm welcome to what comes next.

Except that Garnet didn’t know what came next. And as she sat in silence with only the dimmest light guiding her fingers as she typed, she began to unfold her thoughts.

Sitting with my uncertainty is so uneasy, Garnet wrote. But when faced with changing tides, what is one to do? I’ve never been fond of change, although I know that it is a constant – and a steadfast reminder of the swiftness of life. Perhaps it is the fear that lies within the layers of complexities that unnerves me at times. Yet here I am, discovering ways to make peace with the very thing that has given me angst over the years. 

Garnet stopped typing almost as quickly as she started. She’d been fighting with the words for days as they eluded her fingertips. Her thoughts turned to Jewel as she noticed the reddish sky casting its stare through the window.

Garnet wished so much for Jewel to be with her. Together it seemed that they could navigate any journey. And besides, Jewel always brought the wine. After all, they had a long-standing rule about good wine and clinking glasses, which is one of the reasons why, when Garnet spied the wine glass that she forgot to put in the sink last night, it made her miss her dear friend even more.

Uncertainty had dealt a hand that no one expected, and Garnet laughed at the irony while Jewel embraced it. Garnet loved that about the Jewel.

Garnet’s thoughts were fleeting this morning as they had been off and on over the past few weeks. Somehow, however, between the lines of the words she wrote and the memories that engaged her heart, Garnet managed a smile.

And then she began typing.

The snow had fallen during the night, and I couldn’t wait to pour a hot cup of coffee and sink into my chair with only my thoughts and my keyboard. I was so engrossed in capturing the words that had felt so elusive that I didn’t even notice you had come downstairs. I stopped momentarily to take a sip from my favorite ceramic mug, and that’s when you sat down in the chair next to mine. I was startled at first, as is so often the case when I escape into my world and tune out the noise. But then we smiled, said good morning, and each sipped our piping hot coffee. As I put my head against the back of the chair and sighed, you laughed out loud. I remember giving you my best side-eye – something I had mastered over the years and passed down to me from my mom. The conversation that followed stayed with me, though. 

“What on earth are you laughing at, Jewel?”

“You,” Jewel said, now laughing even harder.

“Me, why me? What the hell did I do?”

“The way you put your head back and sighed. You reminded me so much of your grandmother. Remember how she’d do that, Garnet, when she was annoyed with your Pop? We would always laugh and shake our heads.” 

“I remember, Jewel. Grandma was quite a woman. But do you know what I remember the most?”

“Her laugh?” Jewel asked inquisitively.

“Of course, her laugh, but no, that’s not it.” 

“Then, what?” Jewel asked.

“She was never afraid to be herself, Jewel. Not even on her worst day. She always said, ‘what have I got to lose?’ And pop would always quip back with ‘Your sanity!’ And then my grandmother would shoot him the masterful side-eye, he’d raise his shoulders to his ears, thrust his hands, and grin from ear to ear. They’d end up either bantering for the next ten minutes or laughing until their sides hurt. It was nothing short of incredible to see them in their element.” 

“Hmm, hmm, Jewel let slip without pause. And who does she remind you of, Garnet?”

Garnet smiled knowingly and gave Jewel her best masterful side-eye – a gene, some say, passed down from mothers to daughters.  

“Thank you, Jewel,” Garnet whispered in the darkness as she recalled that memory and took a sip of her coffee.

Finally feeling settled, the words began to flow almost effortlessly as Garnet started to type.

With her favorite coffee mug between her cold hands, she took a deep breath. Her cup had seen better days, but it was the one her grandmother had given her for her 25th birthday. She remembered the day so clearly because it would be the last birthday she would celebrate with her. The chip in the side was only one of the imperfections, but the story behind it is one worth sharing.”

Until next time,



Laura Mikolaitis
Laura Mikolaitis
Laura credits her writing, which laid dormant for years, to her late mom, who always believed in her. Writing unabashedly from the heart and inspired by millions of moments, three tenets of evergreen advice that her mom always shared with her are her guiding principles. Whether it is poetry, fiction, or a personal essay, her love for the written word feeds her mind, body, and spirit. Laura’s creativity also comes to life in her passion for photography. Her ongoing love affair with the moon, her joy for family and friends, her connection to nature, and being a loving canine mom often become some of her best subjects. Laura has held many roles throughout her professional career, including Brand Manager, Project Manager, and Director of Global Business Development and Sales Operations. In addition, she has a background in consumer-packaged goods, manufacturing, and textiles. Laura currently works in biotechnology for Berkshire Corporation as their Product Marketing Manager. She holds a Master of Science degree in Communications and Information Management from Bay Path University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from SUNY Oswego. Originally from Northern NY, Laura resides with her husband and canine child in a small town in Massachusetts that captured her heart years ago.

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