Prompt – Write about an object of great significance to a character.

It sits by the side of my desk at home, a family heirloom and an another impediment to maneuvering around the stacks of travel books on the floor, in a den overcrowded with antique chairs, oriental rugs, and exotic wall-hangings, all souvenirs accumulated over two generations of reporting on the world’s crises. I inherited my father’s romantic restlessness, his ability to write a compelling sentence, and this pre-World War I spherical image of the world. Its sepia tones of camel hide, tanned, stretched, and glued over a wooden frame in Morocco, now require great care.
When the girls were growing up, they delighted in helping dad by sharing their saddle soap from the pony barn. These days, I’m increasingly reluctant to undertake the annual task of restoring the leather, carefully removing the small, red-headed pins that mark the seventy-eight countries and territories of our careers, carefully applying the white cream, gently rubbing it in tiny circles, vigilant not to disturb the frail, hand painted lines of diplomacy my father and I reported on, that wars and politicians redrew, and which no amount of honest, hard bargaining has yet to get right.
Some years it takes me months to replace those pins, slowed down by memories of accompanying my father to elegant hotels in bombed out cities and my own sojourns in the sorry shelters of deserts and jungles.
The brass stand tarnished a lovely, muted, golden brown, has held up much better than the world it supports, the engraved Insha’Allahs more truthful than we realize.