I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember his face. I do remember the details of what went down on the fateful ”Day I Posessed the Second Most Beautiful Ring I Had Ever Seen”.
I was in the 5th grade. Living the good life…..spending my time climbing trees and pretending I wasn’t aware of the turmoil my family was still facing after my uncle’s suicide. I had been deeply affected for many reasons of my own, but I was young and resilient and decided to bury all of those until I was 23.
He was totally smitten. I, well, I can’t remember his name. (this is a bit of a precedent I set back then that carried on through much of my “romantic” life) He would play whatever I suggested. Sit on the end of the boys table closest to the girls table and constantly stare at me. We were pretty sure he was somewhat *ahem* special.
I didn’t mind though. If I needed my pencil sharpened, he was always handy to have around. He would quickly give me his pencil, then go and sharpen the original, come back and give me the freshly sharpened one, taking back his dull, pointless pencil. I must say, in hindsight, he really had a talent for keeping my pencils in good shape. Not sure how that translated into a career skill for him. Nor can I find out, since I wouldn’t know who to ask my friends about, if I even wanted to know.
*end sidetracked moment*
One fateful day on the playground, while I was sitting on a swing talking to a group of my bestest friends in the whole world, (two of whom I am still friends with today) he bravely walked into girl world and asked to speak to me. After much giggling, ooooing and aaahhhing, I agreed to walk 6 feet away from everyone else to hear what he had to say.
He was more awkward than normal. Tthen, with little fanfare at all, he pulled an emerald ring out of his pocket, offered it over to me and said something to the effect of it reminding him of my eyes. (no, my eyes are not emerald green) Now, I knew it was an emerald because my great grandmother had a ring with an emerald surrounded by diamonds I had coveted since before I was actually born. (I love the jewels, TRUTH!)
I slid it on each finger, it was too big, but I was damned well going to wear it anyway. He smiled and said it looked perfect and he hoped I liked it. I think he tried to kiss me on the cheek, but he missed because I was off to show all of my bestest friends. We decided to wrap it with yarn, like the older girls on the bus would do with class rings, until we made it fit.
When we finished, it was securely on my finger. I realized, as I paid no attention in class for the rest of the day, that I had missed out on two things when I accepted the ring.
1: It had an emerald the size of my eyes, which must have been why it reminded him of them. Well, I mean, other than the fact my eyes aren’t square.
2: He probably thought I was his girlfriend now. I was completely unprepared to be someone’s girlfriend. I had promised daddy not to have any boyfriends until I had graduated from high school. Plus, I had issues with guys, like the whole cootie thing.
I looked back down at my hand and made my first adult-like decision. The ring was worth it. I would have the ring, selling my soul and breaking a promise to my dad? Totally worth it. (this would be another theme throughout my “romantic” life.)
I was pure sunshine and smiles until I got home that day. I went about sitting my brother down to do his homework and wash some dishes when my brother saw IT. “Where did that come from?” he insisted. “None of your business pig face.” (I loved him dearly) was probably my retort. He moved on and I continued my day until my mother arrived home. “Shawn has a ring!” were the first words out of his mouth when she entered the kitchen. This began a series of questions, an inspection of the ring and then some phone calls after sending me to my room. “…I don’t know where he would have gotten it……she says he gave it to her during recess…….I should, but for now I am going to take it from her so she doesn’t lose it……how did you not notice a ring like THAT on her hand…..” Eavesdropping from my room was something I was skilled at by this time. It was how I learned all of the details I didn’t want to know, but couldn’t resist, after my uncle’s death. The upshot was that my mother was going to take my ring away. Oh. My. Gawd. She’s always been the evil one.
I prepared myself for battle and wondered if I could hide the ring somewhere so she couldn’t get it. I decided against that plan because, HELLO!!! What is the point of a stunning ring if you aren’t going to wear it?? I waited……….and waited…..then I heard my dad arrive. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Clearly, I needed to go make sure dad knew I still didn’t think of that boy as my boyfriend and make sure he didn’t let mom take my ring. I started to get up and dad opened my door. He took the gentler approach. Asking many of the same questions mom had asked, but in a much gentler tone. “Where do you think he got the ring?” he asked me. “I guess he bought it for me.” I replied daftly. I mean, where the hell do boys get things to give girls???!! I don’t know. I still am not 100% certain about such things. My job is to accept them and not let mom take them away, right???
Dad just smiled and walked out of the room. Dinner was more inquisition-style questions by mom, and dad giving her “the look” that really was just his way of conveying shut the fuck up, but we weren’t supposed to know that.
The evening went by quietly, until it was about time for bed. My mother decided it was time for the battle. “Give me the ring before you lose it.” WHAT?? Why would I lose the second most beautiful ring I had ever seen??????
She won. She always did back then. Not that it has changed much even now. I cried myself to sleep. If I even slept, I may have just cried all night without sleeping. I probably wailed loudly, just so dad would be angry with her for making me so miserable. Who knows, drama was/is my thing.
The next day, I came out of my room to my father having his coffee in the kitchen. When I sat down with him, he proceeded to explain that my mother had called The Boy’s mother after I had gone to bed. After some investigation and him being interrogated, it was discovered he had stolen the ring from his grandmother. Who steals from their grandmother? Oh…..lovestruck pettty larcenists. Also, the realization didn’t hit me until dad said it, the ring had to be given back.
After crying and pleading my case (it wasn’t my fault, why should I be punished???!!!) I lost. Dad was sympathetic, but firm. This was not a victimless crime. I was a victim. The Boy’s grandmother was a victim. My mom was, of course, partly to blame. Yes, that is how my mind worked. Or works……that is another story for a different day.
Several years later my father gave me an emerald ring. It was beautiful. I didn’t immediately think of the larcenist and the ring my mother stole from me. (we have established this is how my mind works, right?) This was another theme in my “romantic” life; my dad would go along and pick up the pieces of the messes that surrounded me.
These days, I avoid the larcenists, accept the jewelry, and always think twice before I show my mother.