Pardon my blood

When I was 16 my mother handed down my great-grandmother’s ring. It’s a beautiful ring. A gold band with another half band of silver raised above that, all designed to cradle a pink stone. I never met my great-grandmother. She was gone before I thought about being an embryo. My great-grandfather missed my birth by a month. I look like her [and named my son after him] and receiving this was a big deal. While jewelers have always drooled at it, it holds no financial value to me. It was my grandmother’s. It could be a rusted ring of iron, badly coated with thin spots of chipped copper that turns my finger green within moments, but it would still be from my grandmother.

About a month after receiving it, I seriously thought my mother was going to kill me, or sell me to the black market or whatever, when I spilled mercury on it in science class. Funny thing about liquid mercury, it spreads when you try to wipe it off. No. Really. It does not come off. It just coats everything completely and takes over, like a crazy alien or some creeping vine that kills whatever it clings to. I cried all the way to the jeweler’s and begged the sweet old man at Nummi’s not to tell my mother. He smiled and gave me a dollar. He told me to walk down to the corner store, get a treat and then come back. When I returned, the gold and silver and pink were all as they should be. I don’t know what he did, I just know that I will love that man forever for fixing it.

Forever… Funny I chose that word. I wore grandma’s ring on my left ring finger for almost a decade—until it was replaced with my own wedding ring. It was then promptly placed in a safety deposit box to be handed down someday. It’s back out now, though I haven’t been able to bring myself to wearing it. It represented so much, and then was replaced by forever. But forever was a lie…

As I sit here and think of the ring—sitting over there in my jewelry box—forever has come to mind a few times.  Jewelry, unlike words, pictures or even memories, is one of those immortal things that doesn’t degrade or breakdown over time. It makes you stop and think about all the things that do have expiration dates, like beliefs and feelings…and people. People come and go in your life in a variety of relationships. Very few stick around forever, and those that do are often [and ironically] tied to a piece of jewelry. It could become a very morbid thought if you let it—all those things that don’t last. The lost friendships, misplaced papers, eroded landmarks and even the music and styles and flavors that make today today.

I think I’d rather concentrate on the things that are forever, or at least as it pertains to a lifetime: the few people that stick around long enough to see your jewelry outlive your adventures, the memories you not only make but share and pass down, or the sounds of water against rocks and children laughing. No matter who’s listening, those things will always be there. I need to remind myself that forever has tons of things that share space with jewelry…

But here I am, in one of my funks and unable to sleep. I’ve been holding my breath for months, years maybe, and am just waiting to exhale. I need a fresh breath. I need to taste clean air. And I need to figure out what to do with another ring. What do you do with jewelry that is no longer needed, or wanted?  I still have the half-heart necklace from my first real boyfriend, but I’m at a loss what to do with my wedding ring. It doesn’t hold the same meaning, it doesn’t have the same charm, it doesn’t belong in my box of memories next to old love letters and pictures and dried corsages.  I’m laying here contemplating forever and whether or not I should just go with the crazy notion I had earlier—find a lovely spot in the local graveyard and just bury the damn thing that symbolized forever but really only meant for now.

Over there on the dresser is a little box that holds sapphires and glass and pain inside its pretty white exterior. Next to it, the jewelry box proper holds a much different ring. If ever I needed to just force my mind one direction, now is it.  So I’m going to turn out the lights, stop fiddling with my empty ring finger and think of that pink ring instead.  I’ll lay in the dark and wait for the sandman to clobber me, and have conversations with a woman I never met but have always loved… in true “forever” fashion.

If she can hear me she should know, while she may not have been forever, her family is doing its part to reach toward it and we’re dragging her jewelry along as a mascot.

[Note: this was written over the weekend, this morning the divorce was final. Anyone interested in a used ring?]

0 Responses to Pardon my blood

  • Joseph Mulak says:

    It’s funny how when I read blogs like this, I feel like I’m reading someone’s diary behind their back (even though it’s posted for others to read.) If you’re interested, I ended mangling my wedding ring with a pair of bolt cutters. Mostly it was because during my marriage I never took it off, then when the marriage ended, I couldn’t take it off. Apparently I’d gained some weight lol. So we used the bolt cutters to cut it off my finger and destroyed the ring in the process. I saved that ring in a jewelery box for a few years.

    It’s nice to see that you seem to adapting to the divorce quite well. I was a complete and emotional wreck for years afterward. Hope it all works out for you.

  • Kelli says:

    Thanks. And I’m doing ok, promise, this was just a down moment =)

    And yes, sometimes these feel like diary entries. This one was raw, I know, but I posted it for the forever portion, and for grandma, and so that maybe others who either feel this way don’t feel alone, or who get it will remember to treasure what they have…

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