The One That Got Away: An Advisory Tale for Xmas Avarice

December 24, 2010

Once upon a time I was travelling the continent and happened upon a small shop on the outskirts of an even smaller city.

Being a lad who still has a mediocre grasp of the English language, I was bumbling around this European city with mostly sign language and exaggerated facial gestures.

Nevertheless, I found this small shop that was overcrowded with collectables, dust and dirt. The acrid air hung heavy with mould and dampness. My little heart raced with excitement, as I felt there was a treasure to be found.

After thirty minutes of rifling through cardboard boxes and other assorted bric-a-brac, I was resigned to leaving empty handed. I walked out, rather jaded.

I had lunch in a café not very far away and decided to walk back past the old store. It was shut, but I thought I’d look in the window. And there I saw it. A beautiful neo-classic ring, buried under silverware, broken picture frames and pottery. The piece looked dusty, but otherwise in good condition. It was the unmistakeable weeping widow beneath the willow with the tomb in the centre. The piece looked to be in relief, with the tomb itself built up.

After my heart started beating again, I walked to the door and knocked. No answer. For the rest of the afternoon, I travelled back and forth waiting for them to reopen. I even continued to after sundown.

The following day, I was there at dawn. Still closed. All through the day I continued to stalk the property (I’m surprised the police weren’t called). Still nothing.

The tragedy was that I had to depart that city the following day. They never opened, even after trying to talk to the locals to see if they knew who owned the store.

So, my question is, have you ever lost out to that ideal piece? As collectors, sometimes you have to learn to let things go because it wasn’t meant to be. For you, what’s the one that got away?

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