There will be no argument, I think, from my sister when I state categorically that visiting the Jade Room at the Field Museum with Marv was pure torture. His fascination with those boring, carved green rocks was incomprehensible, when sparkling gems and actual models of the tortures of Tibetan Buddhist Hell were mere steps away. It seems to me we may even have pleaded and dragged our feet and whined, but to no avail. He would see it, every time we went to the museum which was often, especially during the summer when humidity rendered the marble oddly fragrant and the entire building had a cloying atmosphere, as if it were about to rain.
Thus began my apprenticeship in what has become a lifelong habit – staring in silence at locked cases of ancient treasures, hands firmly in pockets, assuming the universal posture of “look but don’t touch,” knowing they can never be mine, but wondering at the poignance of their captivity.