My ring

by mollykl

I lost my wedding ring. As in, lost it. That thing is long gone. I lost it at work on Wednesday, and spent most of “ad day” crying while trying to make signs (and here’s a revelation: that ink runs when you cry on it.) My boss said I could go home, but I needed something to focus on, other than the fact that I lost my most important piece of jewelry. But while I lost something very dear to me I also gained a few things. Like insight.

I’ve been married for nearly 11 years. Husband J and I were together for 10 years before we got married, and I thought having the whole “dog and pony show”, as I put it, would be ridiculous. But I wanted a real wedding, with a dress and all that. My dress was Nicole Miller, off-white satin (you can make whatever appropriate or inappropriate joke you want about it being off-white – I was with him for 10 years prior), and floor length. I wasn’t sure if J would want rings, being a hippie Reedie and all, but he said he did. At the time, at Escential where I was manager, we had an employee named Damon who was in school learning jewelry designed. After John asked me to marry him, I went in to work and casually asked Damon how much it would cost to make me a ring. Something really simple, like a sterling silver band.

“Oh, 25 bucks.”

“Great. Can you make me two? I’ll get you our sizes.”

It took him half a second to get it, and then he said, “Really? You’re getting married?” And hugged me. And seemed really pleased that he was making our rings. Then he tried to talk me into using white gold. He said white gold would be better, but I liked sterling. So I argued with him, and argued with him, and argued with him (I may have even threatened to fire him) and then he acquiesced.

So the day before my wedding comes, and I’m already scheduled to get off work early so I can go home and bake my famous lasagna (recipe from an issue of Seventeen magazine, circa 1984) for a crowd of about 15. Damon comes to work and asks, “Hey, can I leave work early?”

I know what this means. This means that SOB hasn’t finished my rings for the wedding, which is tomorrow.

And I say no. Because, as I tell him, I’m going to teach him a lesson about procrastination,  even if it means I don’t have a wedding ring, damn it. And then I leave, already resigned to not having a ring when I get married tomorrow.

Of course, my boss Meg, who’s come to take over for me while I leave, has practically pushed him out the door as soon as I was gone, saying, “Go finish those rings!”

Later that night, well fed with lasagna and wine, I open the door to Damon, who has our rings, and wants to fit them to make sure they are perfect. And I, in perfect Molly fashion, am accusatory.

“Meg let you leave early didn’t she!”

But I had rings for my wedding day. And they were lovely. Simple silver bands.

I realized a few things some years later, well, 10 years later to be exact, when my husband bought me a diamond and white gold eternity band for our anniversary. He brought the ring home and I pulled it out the box and was so excited. And then I noticed something about the color. And I took off my wedding ring and held it up to my anniversary ring.

And then I said to J, “Don’t you think it’s odd that these have never needed polishing? I mean, they’re silver, they c should be constantly oxidizing, but they never show a trace of it. And isn’t  silver harder than gold? Our rings have scratches in them, they still look nice and well-worn, but should they scratch this easily?”

“SON OF A BITCH! He used white gold after I TOLD him to use sterling! He just did what he wanted anyway!”

That ring was a reminder of everything my friends in Portland did for us that day. Damon made the rings, Joyce did the flowers for the reception, Meg threw us the party, Emily offered up her cafe as a space and her staff for catering and servers, my best friend and best man Chris made the invitations (complete with a faux Soviet-style propaganda poster that read “Come on join the party!”) even one of my line reps, Lulu, who was as baker part-time, made our wedding cake. That’s what I remember about my wedding. It wasn’t about me. It was about all of the people we got to share it with.  And that’s what I thought about every time I looked at my ring.

I will miss it. But, much like the day I received it, I will always remember the day I lost it. M was out there on the grass by the A-Frame signs, on her hands and knees, combing through grass trying to find it. (She joked that if our boss, S, was there he’d be out there looking too, and then would probably offer to buy me a new one.) The courtesy clerks doing sweeps were keeping an eye out. C was looking for it out front of the store. A and S let me take a long lunch to go home and see if by chance I left it there. A wanted me to take off early so I could look or just go home. On my way to my car, very tired and very sad, K from the bakery saw me and asked if there was anything he could do for me. Without fail, all over the store, people offered help.

The amazing thing about that simple ring is that it always reminded me of my friends in Portland, and I’ll always have those memories. But now, I also have the memories of my friends here in Sacramento, and how much they cared for me and for what I lost.