What did you do with the ring?

David Castillo DominiciShe cuddles beside her fiance in the chilly theater, watching the movie … but not. She’d rather watch the image replay over and over in her mind of the man beside her, only hours ago, kneeling at her feet. She’s giddy and distracted by the new piece of glitter on her left hand. Even in the darkness, the stunning diamond solitaire occasionally flashes–reflecting the light from the silver screen. Forever. It’s a long time. Forever has never felt so short.

Within a year, she finds images on a computer screen that tell her she’s not enough. He’s shopping for better goods. She crumples, devastated, slumped against the front door of their tiny apartment. Just when she thinks she’ll drown in her tears, he pulls her out. He tells her everything is going to be okay. Remember the ring.

Four years fly. She’s not alone. There is another. Blonde. Young. Tantalizing. New. But she stops. She remembers the ring. She shows him. He remembers too. They keep going. It will be okay. Forever.

The ring. He has one too. Doesn’t he? Where is it? She hasn’t seen his in a while. For months at a time his hand is bare. Sometimes he finds it again, and he clings to her like before. The ring is back, but then gone again. She wonders. But not too hard. She believes in the ring. And forever.

One day she finds it. His ring. In a wooden box he made for her. She packs up the children and drives to surprise him at work. She sits across from the stranger with the bare hand, and reaches over the cold desk with the ring. She takes his left hand and places the ring there. But his look is quizzical. Worried? “I just found it,” she says. “I thought you might want it.” He doesn’t smile.

Ten years from the theater. She’s on a plane. Running from shattered vows. How many times? She’s not sure. Enough to smash the diamond to pieces. Forever has never felt so short.

A ring is a funny thing. So small, but symbolic. Larger than its parts.

I remember, after I left, looking down and seeing it there on my hand. It jarred me. It stabbed my soul to see it there glittering so brightly. It had become an emotional trigger. I remember thinking it might as well be made of plastic. It was a lie.

I hated the backside of marriage–that awkward limbo while we were separated but ‘still married.’ I wanted to tear the ring from my hand in the worst way. But, I also didn’t want to appear available. Because I wasn’t. So I had a dilemma. Here is how I solved it:

Have you ever seen those huge gaudy costume diamond rings at WalMart that cost about 8 bucks? If a ring is a symbol, I thought, then an obviously fake ring is a perfect representation. So I got one. It didn’t turn my finger green, but it did make me laugh. It was a nice change. It felt good to laugh instead of crying. I preferred a smile to a stab. So I put away my beautiful solitaire from so long ago, and replaced it with the awful counterfeit. It was so appropriate to physically see what was once genuine replaced with something so counterfeit. So symbolic.

Time passed. The papers were signed. I took off my fake ring. And the original ring sat in its original box. (Yes, I saved it. Pitiful, huh? For some reason, now I’m not so sentimental as I once was.) I took the old ring out once and drove it around town to about five different pawn shops, but the owners all told me the same thing: “I’ll give you $100 for it. Gold is the big thing right now, lady. It’s only worth its weight in gold.” One man even said, “A diamond solitaire? I literally have teacups full of these things! I’m sorry, but I just don’t need anymore.”

A diamond is forever? Not really. A diamond is worth whatever price you put on it. Just like a marriage. Is a marriage forever? That depends. Do you value it? Would you sell out for a low price? Would you disregard it completely and give it to someone for its weight in gold?

I still have my ring. Sort of. It’s in a drawer somewhere at my parents’ house. In its original box. That’s where I left it when I ditched my old life and started my new one. But I don’t want to keep the ring. I have moved on.

If you are divorced, I would like to know … What did you do with your ring?

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/David Castillo Dominici
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21 thoughts on “What did you do with the ring?

  1. I keep mine for my daughter since she said she wants it. It reminds her of where she came from, which is the two of us. My dress is under her bed and our wedding album is in the drawer of her nightstand. I sometimes wish I could make it all disappear, but to her, those things symbolize love. The love she was conceived out of.

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    1. Oh, Mary. You are such a sweetheart. I can’t imagine what that is like for you emotionally. I honor your ability to put your daughter before yourself in this matter. You are a rock star. Love. xoxo

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  2. Melody,

    Have you tried actual jewelry stores? Some sell on consignment. You can market it as one less diamond coming out of the blood diamond mines. And there’s always eBay. I have a friend who sells jewelry there pretty successfully. You could also have it made into something else for one of your children when he’s older (as a way of saying that some good things — the children — came out of the marriage). I don’t know how to make it fair for your other kid though. Perhaps he could have the actual wedding band.

    My daughter has a friend’s ring. The friend wanted nothing more to do with it, so she gave it to Meredith who devised some sort of purification rite for it. Any friends who might want it?

    Is there a charity — perhaps one for abused women — that might take it? I know my husband’s school has an dinner auction every year; perhaps one of the local schools in your area might have something similar.

    Of course, there’s no hurry to decide. I’ll be interested to know what you figure out when you do.

    Ruth

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  3. I was just asking myself this week! I left my husband over a month ago and we are starting a divorce. I tried to give him the rings but he insisted I keep them. Now what? Sell them? keep them? Throw them at his head? I have no idea

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  4. Michellethewife,

    “Now what? Sell them? keep them? Throw them at his head? ”

    I guess that depends on how accurate is your aim : ).

    Ruth

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  5. I’m almost 7 years out and remarried. I’m keeping mine for my daughter and I had two tiny gold bands from the wedding and then the one year anniversary. I plan to give those to my two sons. I still have my dress and photos. My daughter wants them. She’s hung a couple pictures in her bedroom…it’s part of our story….I can’t throw it all away simply because I didn’t like how the story ended. I’m very sentimental though and so is my daughter! 🙂

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      1. No need to rush to a decision, Melody. Your boys are too young to have an opinion, but they might develop one later that you’ll want to honor.

        In any case, you’ve found your way to a better life, and that’s a monumental achievement.

        Ruth

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  6. I moved cross country and went to a few jewelry stores to see what it was worth. The diamond was flawed, so it wasn’t worth more than $100, just like yours. Flawed. Well, that sums up my marriage, right? One jeweler told me she knew women who threw their rings in the Great Salt lake. I’m still thinking about it, except I like the setting. I had my ring remade with a new setting at our twentieth anniversary. It was supposed to be a new start. A hopefully new start–without abuse. It wasn’t.
    If I can just throw the diamond in the Great Salt Lake, that would be best. I don’t ever want any of my children to wear it or own it. Bad karma. If I give it to my ex, I’m afraid he’ll give it to one of our boys for their engagement ring. That would be bad karma for their marriages. My ex wants it back since it belonged to his grandmother. She wore it for two years before she died. I wore it for thirty-three, so I say it’s mine and not his grandmother’s anymore. So it sits in my jewelry box.
    My wedding dress I stuffed in our garbage can before I left him. Yes. Stuffed it. It meant nothing anymore. Also bad karma for anyone else to wear it. It’s a symbol of a failed marriage.
    I don’t really think of these things anymore, but I happened onto this blog post. I’m five years out. Still not ready to trust men again. I wouldn’t be a good investment as a wife. Still trying to explore who I am as an independent person before I tie myself to another.
    I read your last blog post about your kids growing up and you being alone. I thought you remarried. There’s no mention of a husband. I hope that hasn’t happened.
    Thank you for all you’ve done for me in giving me confidence and love in the past. I’ve been under the radar for a few months in the writing worlds, trying my hand at art projects again. Trying my hand at finding myself at this late stage in life.
    Be well.

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