My wedding ring. It was the emerald cut diamond from my engagement ring set in the middle of a band that had two uninterrupted horizontal channels (?) of tiny diamonds. It was basic and beautiful and unique. We had it made in Tampa by a fine custom jeweler named Cookie. He did a beautiful job. I did not know just how talented he was until we tried to have it replicated after the insurance claim. I dislike the new one so much I just wont wear it.
Maybe the hardest part of this loss was the circumstances under which I lost it. I seem to have incredibly shrinking fingers. Long and wiry, as I age, my band size keeps getting smaller and smaller. At the time of it's loss in 2001, this ring was swimming on my finger, and I often had the habit of sliding it up and down my finger and occasionally taking it if off and on while I jabbered or watched TV.
I had last seen it while sitting in the booth of a local vegetarian restaurant, dining with a dear friend of 4-5 years, who we'll call Brian. Brian was often down on his luck, to the point where I had twice loaned him money to help fill his cash flow gaps. He always paid me back; he even pawned some of his own possessions to honor his debt. (Pawn was one other way he made ends meet from time to time).
On that day, I had hoped to cheer him up with a lunch out. I recall playing with my ring quite a bit at the table. Later that evening, I noticed it was gone and, of course, I panicked. I called the restaurant the next day, and several more days thereafter, but they had not seen it.
I went to great lengths to find it, visiting pawn shops all over town. I eventually capitulated to the fact that it was gone from my life. I made the insurance claim and set the wheels in motion to get a new ring made. The new ring was crap, even though I sent it back twice on grounds of poor craftsmanship. Finally, although I did not like the result, I accepted the ring for the silliest of reasons: I was soon visiting my extended family in Italy and I could not fathom that these very traditional country folk would approve of a married woman walking around without a ring on. (Ironically, they quizzed me as to why I didn’t leave it at home, lest someone in Naples cut off my hand to steal it).
Before this trip, and shortly after the loss, Brian called me up and told me I was a negative influence in his life and he didn’t want me to contact him any longer -- in any manner. I was cut out. The fag had dumped his hag. I felt used, hurt, rejected, and baffled. Sure, I have my neuroses, but a negative influence? Me?!?
It wasn’t until a year after losing my ring that it dawned on me that the two events - my ring going missing and Brian’s” dumping” me -- might have been linked. I remember the ring was lying on the table for part of the meal that day. Was he so desperate for cash that he pocketed the ring while I sashayed to the restroom? Did he end our long friendship because I was a “tool,” or because he didn’t want to be reminded of what he had done?
For years, whenever I had the occasion to send a really important email that merited announcement to everyone in my address book - moving to a new city, arrival of baby, new cell number, etc -- I would include Brian in the distribution list. I always hoped to get a response, perhaps kindly, with some sort of nice note and a wish to reconnect. Never did. He responded every time, with business like courtesy, requesting that I remove him from my address book. Up until last year, when I got an email from his account, written by a friend, notifying everyone that he had passed away in his home in Seattle. He was in his late 40s.
Losing this one object is not so memorable because it was my wedding ring - I don’t think my marriage is any less or more because of a ring - but having lost a close friend with it just feels weird. I’m never to know what happened.