She 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