January 3, 2001
Breaking in the Ring


Last night I dreamed that the diamond fell out of my engagement ring.

In the dream, David and I were pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles of the grocery store, buying potato chips for our wedding reception. Suddenly I looked at my ring and realized that the diamond was missing.

"I think it fell into one of the bins," David said.

I looked around me and realized, to my horror, that we were surrounded on both sides of the grocery aisle by huge, open bins, each one filled with every imaginable kind of dry goods: potato chips, crackers, nuts, cereals, croutons, trail mix. My diamond had fallen into a bin of Cheerios.

"I'm never going to find it in there!" I wailed in despair. And I started to cry.

"Well," said David, "we can't get married, then." He explained that the grocery store would only issue us a marriage license if we could produce the original engagement ring. "No replacement diamonds allowed," he said sadly.

End of stoopid [no-more-pastrami-at-bedtime, ok?] dream.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

It's been almost four years since I've worn a ring on my finger -- any kind of ring, on any of my fingers -- and it feels weird and unnatural. It's a little bit like slipping into a new pair of Red Goose penny loafers after a long, barefoot summer vacation.

Occasionally the ring gets caught in my hair when I'm finger-combing it. I still haven't figured out how to put on a pair of No Nonsense without fatally snagging them. I worry about scratching David during our more *intimate moments.*

I'm wondering how I'm ever going to make meatloaf again.

I'm not complaining, though.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

I did have a wedding ring the first time around: a plain gold band. My young husband-to-be presented it to me about a week before the wedding, back in the summer of 1981. He brought it home from work one night and handed it to me,  still in the Jafco bag, receipt attached.  I was so excited, I slipped it onto my finger, right there and then. For the first couple years of my marriage I never took the ring off ... not even to shower or wash dishes or change poopy diapers. I was absurdly proud of my little ring, and of the stability and status I felt it conferred onto me.

I am a married woman, said the ring. Don't fudk with me.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Shortly before Grandma died, ten years later, she gave me two rings: a beautiful diamond solitaire, exact origins unknown, and an ornately carved wedding band encrusted with tiny diamonds, a gift from her second husband. I reluctantly sold the solitaire, not long after she died, for rent and grocery money. My husband tried to get me to sell both of Grandma's rings, but I stubbornly refused to part with her wedding band. This was the cause of many a door-slamming/plate-throwing screaming argument around our house for a while, but I stood my ground. I slipped Grandma's ring onto my finger, relegating my own wedding ring to the back of a desk drawer (where it languished for a few years and eventually disappeared altogether).

I wore Grandma's diamond wedding band, on and off, until the spring of 1997, when I returned home from a rendezvous with The Doc and realized that  somewhere between New Orleans and TicTac I had managed to lose Grandma's ring. Frantic phone calls to the Lost and Found departments of the hotel ... the airlines ... the airports in New Orleans, St. Louis, TicTac ... yielded nothing.

The ring had vanished forever.

Both the marriage and the affair died well-deserved deaths, soon afterward. Heartsick, I decided that I wasn't going to put another ring on my finger again until -- unless -- it was given to me by someone I deeply, genuinely, foreverly loved,  and who deeply, genuinely, foreverly loved me in return.

At that point, frankly, it didn't seem very likely.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

I spend a lot of time these days looking at my ring: moving my hand up and down, making the diamond sparkle in the light ... twisting my wrist around, forwards and backwards ... looking at it from every possible angle. A couple of days ago I took a bent paper clip and wrapped it around my finger, just below the engagement ring, trying to get a *feel* for how my finger will look with the wedding ring added next summer.  Reflective surfaces have suddenly become my friend again -- rear view mirrors, computer monitors, spoons, toasters -- any shiny surface I can use to admire my ring. The other day I stuck the ring on one of my toes, just for fun. I'm totally loving this whole engagement ring business.

I can't imagine ever stuffing it into the back of a desk drawer.

I know that even if the diamond does happen to fall out, it's covered by warranty.  And -- as far as I know -- Alameda County does not in fact require you to show the "original diamond" before they'll issue you a marriage license.

I also know that even if I didn't have this ring on my finger, David and I would still be destined to spend the rest of our lives together in silly, foreverly bliss.

But geez ... am I ever glad glad glad I have this ring on my finger.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

P.S. No, I didn't quit.

Yes, I wrote the letter ... but I'm WAITING a couple of days to calm down before I do anything. I just wanted to write about something happy today: one mewling journal *Boo Hoo Moment* per week is plenty, I believe.

throw a rock