i say i want a nice ring for our anniversary.
it is supposed to be some sort of “promise” ring. you give me tanzanite and pearl on white gold. sitting on your living room carpet, you deliver some sort of speech. “the world’s supply of tanzanite will be completely mined in the next ten years. this ring will be worth a lot more in the future.” and, “this is a promise ring. i promise my life to you. i promise my love.” it is stupid to marry someone who lives 2,000 miles from you so we will wait for all that stuff until we are geographically together again. you also say the promise of love is stronger than marriage, and the promise of the self is stronger than any sort of legal vows.
i am careful with the ring. i never wear it in the shower, like i do with my other jewelry. everyone comments on its beauty.
but two weeks later: “i’m not sure if i’m in love with you anymore,” you tell me. the ring you gave me, this promise ring, the point of it invalid. i am crying, wear it in the bathtub this once. two years and then two weeks and then what?
a month later. we are still not together but we are not broken up. i say you are having issues and you say i am your issue. i wear the ring everyday anyway. “i’m never giving this back,” i tell you. “i’m not asking you to,” you tell me, calm at my hysteria. i cry daily, everywhere: in class, in the supermarket, on my bike, at work in the bathroom on break.
at a party, i meet another man. we are talking over loud house music and i look at my finger. a pearl is missing. “it’s missing!” a friend of mine says it is a sign. but i find it on the floor, right next to the other man’s shoe. i wonder if that is another sign.
i give the ring and the pearl back to you. it cannot be fixed and you cannot return it. you put it in a ziploc baggy in your sock drawer.
we are together again, sort of. we say we are figuring our issues out. you buy me another ring; amethyst, three square stones of it, on a simple white gold band. it is too big for my finger so you return it.
we are in orlando and i can smell disneyworld. we are shopping amongst tourists. i pretend to look at engagement rings. not pretend to look but pretend you are giving me one. a saleswoman, “can i help you?” the rings are expensive but i want one anyway. i want the whole kneeling “will you marry me” ceremony. you point out a non-engagement ring—two tanzanite stones, three opal stones, and little diamonds, on white gold. it is beautiful but “too expensive.” you buy it for me anyway.
i suppose you are in love with me again.