Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Ring(s)

I had my ring inspected and cleaned yesterday. I have to take it in every six months, it's part of the warranty. Now it's all shiny and sparkly and when I type I keep catching myself looking down at it and thinking "Oooohhh. Sooooooo pretty." You don't realize how dirty a ring is until a jeweler cleans it for you. It's white gold, with a sapphire set in the center and two diamonds on each side. I'm not a jewelry expert, so I can't say what shape the sapphire is, but it's not quite round and not quite rectangle. I love it. Not just because it is exactly like something I'd pick for myself, but because I didn't have a thing to do with getting it. It was just my birthday, and that is what He chose to give me last year.

I can think back to every ring I have ever gotten from someone, and can remember how or why I came to receive it. None were ever given to me without me having something to do with it. Well one, but the story behind that makes it meaningless too. Not one ever felt like it meant anything to me. Not even my wedding ring(s). Perhaps (and looking back I can say this now) that's because I meant so little to the people that gave them to me.

The first ring I ever received was from my second, loser boyfriend. Couldn't hold down a job. Dropped out of college. Dyed his hair purple when it wasn't in style. Did I mention he was a loser? Anyway, there was this ring I saw in a Best catalog that I just adored. At the time, I wore gold jewelry even though I liked silver and white gold much better. There was just a wider selection of jewelry in gold at the stores near me. And this was sapphire, my birthstone, with diamonds (albeit small ones) and more sapphires set on each side of the band. Knowing what a fool he was, I couldn't think of a way to let him know I wanted it, yet still have it be his idea.

So I showed it to his mother. She loved me. And she was a really nice lady. To this day, I cannot figure out how she ended up with such a dolt for a son. I figure she was just too nice to him and let him do whatever he wanted. I really believe that is a big reason kids grow up to be losers. She got the hint and magically the damn fool got it for me for Christmas. I'd be willing to bet that she actually bought it and had him give it to me. I was excited when I saw it, because I had wanted it so badly, but when I thought of the way I got it, it never looked as pretty as when I first saw it.

The second ring I got was from the same loser, two months later. We had gotten in a horrible fight. I know I broke up with him, but I can't remember all the details of it. They say the memory will actually allow you to forget bad things that happened to protect you mentally. While an average breakup shouldn't really be considered all that traumatic, there are details of the relationship that I have not, and may never delve into. Just believe that things were not so good, and I am sensitive, and it is probably a good thing I don't remember all of the details.

I was at work and this old lady I worked with came in from her lunch break with a red and white bag with hearts and a teddy bear on it (remember - we're in February now). She gave it to me and said she found it on my car, hanging on the antenna, and was
"worried" that someone might take it. She peeked inside and when she saw what it was she decided to bring it in to me so it wouldn't get stolen. I opened it in the breakroom in front of a bunch of the other girls. It was this huge, gaudy, gold, Amethyst ring. The Amethyst (February's birthstone, NOT mine) was appropriately heart shaped for Valentine's day. Awwwwwwwwwww.

Gag me. The ring was ugly to me, and I'm sure the impression it was supposed to make was something along the lines of "please forgive me, I was wrong, and now I bought you something to show you I am sorry". At least that's what all the beaten and divorced women I worked with said. After the fact, I realized it really meant something more like, "I am a complete asshole and will always will be a jerk and I feel that no matter how lousy I treat you I can buy you something really shiny with my mom's credit card because I am too much of a loser to have my own and you will still sleep with me." Of course, I see this now. At the time, however, I was still a naive young person and actually stayed with the moron for a few more months.

After that were the rings given to me by my now-ex-husband. The first from him was a sapphire, marquis cut. This was given to me one year for Christmas to try to pacify me because I had been hounding him for an engagement ring. Never a wise thing to do.
Never. Never. Never. NEVER. If you have to beg a man for an engagement ring, the probability of the relationship surviving are approximately one in a trillion. If that. What's higher than a trillion? Anyway, the jackass who should have just done me the favor of leaving me then instead of later, bought me the stupid sapphire ring. And at the time, I was soooo disappointed when I opened that little box and saw a sapphire. I tried to hide how upset I was. I wanted an engagement ring. Here comes that whole hindsight thing. If I had known then what I know now, I would have chucked the ring right back at him and asked him to leave right then and there and saved myself a whole lot of wasted years. But I didn't.

Instead I stuck around TWO MORE years with my blinders on, and finally got the damn engagement ring. The cheapest god damn engagement ring I could find that was still made out of gold and diamonds. A 1/4 carat diamond to be precise. A cheap, 1/4 carat
diamond wedding SET actually. $250, AND I think he got it on sale. Because my evil, conniving mother, who just LOVED him, convinced me to look at rings one day while at the mall with HER. And convinced me that this was a beautiful little ring, and it was well within his budget, and wouldn't I rather have a nice little wedding ring and extra money for, say the honeymoon, than to have a huge diamond ring that would only get caught on things and look out of place on me?

Why, yes, I guess so. I mean, mother knows best, right? It's normal to shop for rings with your mother and NOT your boyfriend. And it's normal for your mother to cut the picture of (forcefully) chosen ring out of a catalog, with the sale price handwritten on it, and hand it to said boyfriend. The same boyfriend who has been living with you since you were together for ONLY three months because he couldn't get along with his step mother and your mother felt sorry for him? The same boyfriend that doesn't have to sleep on the couch, OH NO, because you are mature enough to live with someone AND sleep in the same bed with them even though you've never moved out of your parents house? The same boyfriend that will buy you said ring, and give it to you on Christimas Eve and then hide under the covers while you open it and not even ask you the magic words every single girl (don't you dare deny it) dreams of hearing her whole entire life?

Talk about an ugly ring.

Actually, it was a nice setting. Another marquis cut. It was pretty, though small. I'm really not that materialistic that I think I am deserving of some huge, expensive, take-out-a-loan-to-buy-it ring. But come on. Just the way it ALL happened was so wrong. So, so wrong. And I had so many warning signals going off in my head. But everyone else seemed to thing it was all just fine. Everyone but me.

So I went with it.

And I stuck it out even longer. Got married. Which I think I touched on here.

Made it through a couple more Christmases. That season (which would also be our last Christmas together) was a ring at Alvin's that caught my eye. Damn those sale ads. The sale was only one day. And it was on sale for $69!!! What a bargain! I've bought shoes that cost more than that! But he was too busy working on his gay friend's race car (no lie) to have time to think about me or that I may want this pretty little mystic fire stone ring. So I called my mom crying. Not really so much because I wanted the ring.

Because I wanted someone to buy me the ring because I meant something to them. Because I was sick of it. Sick of him leaving me alone to be with his friends. Sick of being ignored. Sick of everything.

So what did she do? She asked to see the ad. OK, real smooth, mom. But hey, if she wanted to buy me the ring, at least I knew someone cared, right? So I sullenly drove over there, gave her the ad and she went on her merry way to buy me my ring. What a
nice mommy.

Christmas eve came. We always open gifts on Christmas eve, now that Santa doesn't come anymore. Imagine my surprise when I got through all of my gifts and my pretty little mystic fire stone ring wasn't in there. Oh well, I thought. It was so cheap, and only a one day sale, so they probably ran out.

Or not. The next morning, I grudgingly got out of bed to open gifts with my roommate. I mean, the jerk I was married too. And lo and behold, there was my pretty little mystic fire stone ring. The look on my face gave me away, I'm sure. I knew he didn't buy that for me. And here he was, with a shitty how-do-ya-like-me-now grin on his face. Like he pulled some sort of trick and got that for me without even being around when I saw it in the stupid ad. No way, asshole. You are NOT getting credit for this one. I knew my mom bought that ring and gave it to him to give to me. Probably trying to save my pointless, already-over marriage.

Nice try, everyone. It didn't work.

So that should be the end of my meaningless jewelry story. But it isn't. There is one more ring. My wedding ring was small. It was chosen by my mother. I was in a miserable marriage. But, I was married, and as unhappy as I was, that meant something to me. Not just that I wanted to be unhappy for the rest of my life. But that I made a promise. And dammit, I kept promises. No matter how badly I wanted to break them.

Imagine how I felt then, one morning, after getting out of the shower, home alone AGAIN, while jerk was off working on another buddy's car (though this one was not gay), I couldn't find my wedding ring. I never slept with my rings on and I always put them in a little jewelry dish by the sink. My watch was there, my bracelets were there, my other rings were there. Even the little thin piece of gold that constituted as a wedding band was there. But the little ring, with its little diamands was GONE.

I frantically searched my bathroom and my bedroom. I called the jerk to see if he'd seen it. He didn't seem too concerned. He was too busy with his friends to be concerned with such a thing.

I called my mom, who came over with my dad. He tore apart the sink, thinking it had fallen down the drain and gotten caught in the trap. No such luck. And with all the other gunk that was down in the trap (my jerk husband was no plumber) there was no way it could have gotten past it, even with how small it was.

My mom did her best to calm me down. Think. Retrace your steps. Where did you take it off? Are you sure you put it with the rest of them? I knew I had. Why else would the band be there?

Then it dawned on me. Oddly enough, the evening before, a newly-released-from-jail old friend of the jerk's had come over. He wanted to see the house. So jerk showed him around. Before leaving, he said he had a headache and asked if we had any aspirin. I got the aspirin for him and he went INTO THE BATHROOM to take them. Not the main bathroom. Not in the kitchen. In my master bathroom, off of the bedroom.

He stole my ring.

I called the police to fill out a report. Mr. Police Officer came over to take the report. Mr. Police Officer was sympathetic, but a little upset about my dog, who kept barking at him. I think she would have attacked him if I hadn't held on to her. Not a good thing. That's my dad's friend's fault. His friend is a game warden, and would often chase my dog around while in uniform. She was always afraid of him. I'm convinced that any man in uniform is going to come off as a threat to my dog because of that. He didn't care about that story and requested that I lock her up while he took the report, or he would have her removed from the premises.

OK. Didn't want to lose my dog even more than I didn't want my ring to be missing, so I put her in the basement.

Mr. Police Officer took the report, and said they would do all they could to find it (which probably consists of filing the report in a big metal filing cabinet and forgetting about it), but it was unlikely it would be recovered. Even though I told him I knew who took it. And that this person has a criminal record that consists of MUCH more than stealing cheap wedding rings.

Oh well. The joke would be on him when he tried to pawn it and wouldn't get much money for it.

I called the jerk, and he still didn't seem to be too concerned, until I told him that I had filled out a police report, and indicated his friend as a suspect. Then he was pissed. Not because his friend had stolen his wife's wedding ring, but because I was trying to get the guy in trouble. Remember those warning signals? That was another one.

I wholeheartedly believe that that bastard had the guy steal my ring. Just to piss me off. He never even bothered to get me another ring. Or even ask if I wanted another one. He didn't wear his, after all (warning, warning), why did I need one?

A few months later I was at the mall, with my mom, again. All of a sudden, she suggestrd that I buy myself a new ring. That seemed a little odd, but I looked in the jewelry store anyway. And I found a pretty WHITE GOLD, marquis cut, 1/2 carat ring. For $600. I think it was on sale for $450. So after much debate over whether or not it was right for me to replace my own wedding ring, I bought it. And I liked it. And I didn't care that he didn't buy it for me. Because, again, looking back, at that point I don't think I loved him anymore. As a matter of fact, looking back, I'm not sure I ever did. I loved the IDEA of being married, and having my house, and a wedding ring, even if it meant NOT living happily ever after.

So I wore my ring, and when people commented on it I smiled and said thank you. When they asked if jerk got it for me to replace

the old one, I said no. I had bought it for myself. And they would look shocked. So what? It was like I was married to myself anyway, why not?

Then I got divorced. I only got to wear that ring for a few months. And I liked it, dammit. I tried wearing it for a while on my other hand, saying that I picked it out and so it wasn't really a wedding ring. But after that, every time I looked at it I remembered WHY I had it, and eventually, it wasn't so pretty anymore. So I quit wearing it.

I came across all of these rings the other day, while looking through my jewelry trying to find earrings for Boyfriend's daughter to wear. These rings will now be sold on eBay. And if I don't sell them there, maybe I'll just give them to Goodwill. Maybe then someone, who doesn't know their past, can wear them, and look at them and say "Ooooohhh, so pretty."

Because now I have a ring that means something to me. A ring that, every time I look at it reminds me that He loves me.

That He saw and thought "She will like this. I will get it for her."

And I love it.


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