When I was an overly dramatical kid, I used to read a lot of books where the heroine would say something deep and meaningful to herself which the adults would later find both profound and amazing. While I would occasionally try and wax poetic about this or that in a sad attempt to emulate the book-girl, the adults never seemed to be that impressed with me.
(note: they still aren’t)
So when we were at the antique store and I rhapsodized on about how many people had looked into the antique mirror before me–people in Olden Times (quote, unquote)–I was surprised when my mother didn’t clap me on the back and buy me ice cream for my witty observation. She merely uh-huh’d me in the that’s nice dear tone and went back to looking at serving bowls.
In hindsight that was a kind of cool way of thinking about old things like that. I grew up in a house that Antiques Roadshow would love to sink it’s pearly teeth into and it was safe to say that my bed really had been slept in before by someone else in Olden Times (quote, unquote). The silverware we pulled out for the holidays had been in someone else’s mouth–a mouth I’d never even seen before. The mirrors really had reflected the image of an ancestor or two.
Who were these people who once used the stuff that I now used? What did they like? What did they hate? What would they think about the pithy observations of an irritating 8 year old?
If I’d been the type to daydream, I’d have had a field day there. I’m more practical than that, though, and it was nothing more than a passing observation.
But that was the first time I’d ever thought about an inanimate object having a sort of an independent memory attached to it. Like it might come with it’s own story. I’ll call it a karmic memory because I’m not sure what else it would be (scent memory is what is on the tip of my tongue, but it’s not the right phrase), and that fits best.
For 8 years, I’ve had an engagement ring. It’s sat there sadly unworn in my jewelry box, occasionally seeing the light of day when I’d rush into the box to find my pearl necklace or snake ring.
It was purchased for me and given to me by Ben’s father after I’d gotten knocked up. I can’t tell you why either of us thought that getting married was a good idea–I’d never really thought much about marriage at all–but I suppose it was a life-line in a sinking ship.
Any port in the storm.
When I slipped that ring onto my finger, though, it changed me. Not into the crazy bridezilla who obsesses endlessly about table linens, but into someone I didn’t like. That ring, that cheap ring that Nat begrudgingly shelled out for while complaining about conflict diamonds and American greed, weighed a thousand pounds, a loosely hanging noose around my neck.
I only wore it for a couple of months, feeling inexplicably shameful and often hiding my hands so as not to have to comment on it when people wanted to gush over my engagement. A couple of months, I wore that diamond unhappily, unsure of how my life had taken such a drastic turn for the crap, and then I took it off in a fit of rage.
When he didn’t come home one night, instead sauntering in the following morning with a cat-that-swallowed-the-canary look on his face, hickeys red on his neck, I took that ring off with an angry “you stuck your dick in HER?”
My son rolled about in my stomach, oblivious to the chaos surrounding him.
I kept the ring.
I don’t know why.
Maybe so that I could give it back to him if he asked.
Maybe to give to my children to play dress-up with.
Maybe I just didn’t know what to do with an engagement ring that was just…wrong.
It was like a reminder of an alternate universe every time I’d open my jewelry box to see it nestled there, next to my other, treasured diamonds. A shameful reminder of where I’d been and how bad things were. Maybe I kept it to remind myself of how far I’d come. How hard I’ve worked to get where I am. How I should never compromise who I am for someone else.
Maybe I was just too lazy to figure out what to do with it.
I sold it today.
Today is not a day that means anything to me. It was a gray morning, it’s a lovely sunny afternoon now, it’s June and June is one of my favorite months.
Today has no significance to me whatsoever.
It’s Saturday, tomorrow is Sunday, yesterday was Friday. It appears to be a good day today, my kids are happy, I have a load of laundry in the dryer, although this is Nat’s weekend with Ben, he never called me to pick him up, so Ben’s home today; his real home. We’re having burgers for dinner later.
I didn’t wake up with the intention of selling it, the idea struck me out of the overcast gray sky: why not put it to bed? Why not rid myself of that burden? I’ve paid the rest of my debts, why not this one too? Maybe the gold and diamond will help someone else build something that I hadn’t wanted.
It’s gone now. Over. It’s been over for years, probably doomed from the start.
My memories, my pain, my hate, it’s gone now.
That’s what I was owed. That’s what I got.
It’s more than it was worth.