In getting dressed to go bowling recently, I reached into my jewelry box for a pair of earrings and spotted a gold ring I hadn’t worn in many years. The large but fake sapphire represented my birthstone for September, and on each side were tiny diamonds, although I never knew if they were fake as well. The ring had sentimental value. My parents gave it to me for my sixteenth birthday.
Sixty-one years have passed since I received that gift. I wore that ring for at least ten years before it no longer fit my ring finger. It became relegated to my jewelry box. It was, however, always there, although over the years it got pushed farther into the reaches of its container.
During my recent move, the ring must have jiggled its way into the front of its drawer again. When I spotted it, I tried to slip it onto my ring finger. It wouldn’t go over my knuckle. Instead I slipped it onto my pinkie. It fit better there, albeit a bit loosely.
Off I went to bowl and have lunch with my sister. While bowling I kept checking my ring, and there it was, sparkling on my pinkie, reminding me of the sixteen-year-old who had big dreams about one day becoming a writer. That little girl achieved her dreams and then some, and I felt proud of her and of course myself.
After lunch I stood to leave the restaurant, and my purse knocked over my water glass. Not only did it spill water across the table and onto my sister’s jacket, but it also knocked a sugar container onto the floor. I’d made a huge mess. Before I left I apologized to the server for the mess I’d made. She said, “No problem,” but I knew I’d made more work for her or someone else. While I drove home I chastised myself for being a klutz. Those thoughts were all that occupied my mind.
At home while I checked my email on my computer, I looked down at my hands for the first time in hours. My ring was gone. Did it fall off at the bowling lanes after I’d checked for it? Had it fallen off when I washed my hands? How about at the restaurant during the water fiasco?
As soon as I could, I called the bowling lanes and the restaurant, but no one had reported finding a ring.
The ring was gone.
An odd sensation overcame me. Instead of feeling a sense of loss, I felt a little excitement. I recalled many years earlier when I found a silver ring while I was walking down a rural road. A simple band, it fit my pinkie perfectly, and I wore it happily for years. I thought about the joy I felt at finding that little silver ring, and then I thought someone would probably find my sweet-sixteen ring. I hope he or she also feels the joy of finding something special. I hope the finder wears it and lets the ring live on, as it should, long after I’m gone.
My feelings surprised me—joy at what might happen rather than a sense of loss at what actually did happen. Joy is usually a fleeting emotion, but I keep feeling it when I think about someone finding that ring on the restaurant floor or at the bowling lanes. I enjoyed the ring for years, and now it’s someone else’s turn, someone else’s story.
Hm. A story about finding a ring and then losing a ring, and the circle never ends, just like the rings themselves. Yes, stories present themselves everywhere, don’t they? That’s why I’m a writer.