October 31st, 2012
I woke up super early to pack all my things for that evening– I was to go to the Ballet. It was one of those crazy mornings in which you barely remember to put on shoes thanks to your busy mind. I slipped off my wedding/engagement ring to encase my legs in tights, packed my lunch, and double-checked all the bags necessary for the day. Then, went back into the bedroom to slide on my ring to find that it was not where I left. I looked in all its usual locations and couldn’t find it.
“My ring is on the counter next to sink,” I yelled through the bathroom door.
I didn’t wait to get a response and hurried out the door.
After a long day and a grownup evening at the Kennedy Center, I came home too tired to search for it. I’ll look for it when I get home from work tomorrow, I told myself and went to bed. Every time I thought about it, I got a little more anxious. Where could it be?
In an effort to calm myself, I told a coworker who was stunned and attempted to make it better. That evening and a few days of relentless searches later, it was time to break the news to Neil.
His response: “I thought I’d lose mine before you!” He was so cool and collected about it. (I almost wish he had gotten angry and yelled, but that’s not his style–it’s why I love him.)
After that weekend, there were sporadic instances when I would remember or think that I remember where it could be and start off the hunt once again to no avail. By this point all my female coworkers and friends were aware. Yet, talking or thinking about it left me feeling lesser-than. One question left a sharp echo: do I need a ring to feel married? I wasn’t sure. I mean the truth is I love a fabulous accessory just for the sake of fashion, but what did my engagement ring really mean? I knew what it was supposed to mean: my husband’s love for me, my commitment to him, our love for each other. I didn’t need this ring, however, to know all of that to be true. So why did I miss it and want it back so badly?
I spent the first month after losing it, in anxiety and then, began to dream of its replacement. I decided I wanted something super low-key: a thin gold band–simple. In the second month, I reintroduced my old fabulous rings that only fit my left fingers. I used to wear these awesome large cocktail rings pre-engagement/marriage.
Last week on a particularly warm January eve (Thank you global warming!), I dug into my pajama drawer to pull out a pair of shorts. Just as I yanked out the mint green shorts, I saw it laying there completely silent. It sat on the bottom of the drawer as if exactly in its place. It took a few seconds for all the emotions to register. I picked it up gently scared of losing it again and slid it back on my naked ring finger.
Sitting next to my partner, feeling the inside of the ring with my thumb, I am reminded:
I love Neil. He loves me. The ring represented a time in our lives (pre-marriage) when we chose each other as life partners accepting each other as we were–broke off our asses, one student, one teacher, one miniscule income. Losing it made me feel like I had lost the one memento that came from that place of purity.
I slowly set it free. The object. The quarter caret princess-cut Tiffany’s platinum diamond ring. Losing it didn’t mean losing that moment; no one could take that away. Losing it didn’t mean I had somehow broken our relationship; it simply meant that I was human.