Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.
I’d love to start this novelette with saying after I said goodbye to Howard (losing something) I found myself. Wouldn’t that be perfect? Finding yourself at the age of 24. I wonder if anyone has done that, but then what would the journey be for the next 80 years? Maybe that’s what Mother Teresa did, found herself early and then shared herself with the world. I could have done that, right? But alas, that was not my path, or perhaps I took the wrong fork.
I did marry Dennis as most of you know and I must say, I loved being married. I loved it. There’s a lot of security in the no back and forth stuff, knowing someone is going to be there everyday when you get home, knowing you can quit “looking” for the right one, making future plans with that person. Being married was very gratifying to me. I was content. After Howard I think I longed for someone who made me feel like I was “worth it.” That’s what being married to Dennis was about to me. I was worth it.
So where did it all go wrong? I guess I was married to the wrong person, or I was the wrong person?. It’s still sad really. Dennis was a good person, still is. There’s a lot that was right about us, but at the time I thought there was more wrong than right. I’ve always said the decision to divorce was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. I took those vows seriously. After 25 years I still think divorcing Dennis was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. We had Zachary you know? But I thought then, and I think now it was the best decision for all of us.
I had these rings from Dennis. One was my engagement ring. My first diamond, you know. We picked it out together and I just loved it, not a huge stone by today’s standards, but for me it was just right. Then he bought me another ring with a smaller (teeny-tiny) emerald in it from Eddie Marx in Sewickley. Remember that guy? Is he still there? Well I just loved it again. It’s a teeny tiny emerald, flawed by the looks of it now, but still there was something about those rings from him that were important to me.
After the divorce, and the fact that I could only have gotten $70 for the engagement ring (I know I’m embarrassed that I tried to do that) anyway, I decided to go back to Eddie Marx and have him make one ring out of the two. I asked him to move the diamond into the emerald ring and he came up with a design. I gave him half and another $80 or so was still owed.
As an adult, I have never been a person of “means” (you know, money). Most everyone around me in my life has always had a “larger” life than me. I’ve always been around money, but after a certain age in my childhood I’ve somehow drawn the short straw there. I’ve continuously worked (until now) but it was always just enough and just enough did not include that ring. I was certain that I would never get it back. There was no way I would ever have an extra $80.
People with money don’t get poor people. One time I had a friend store a box spring for me and mice chewed through it and we had to throw it out. Her husband said “no big deal, box springs are like $100, she can just get a new one”. You know I NEVER got a new one. To this day, I never got one. Jimmy slept with the mattress on the floor. Every year at Christmas he would ask for a “bed in the air.” I finally got him a platform bed from IKEA where he didn’t need a box spring. But the point is, $100 to some, or $80 to someone might as well be a million. (so this is a kinda funny side, when Jimmy moved into his current apartment I bought him one of those foam type mattresses online so it could be shipped to him…he does not have a boxspring that fits…it is a bed on the floor, again)
Back to my story, I had pretty much written the ring off. It had been months since I left it there. I kept the possibility of retrieving it on top of the list but as a single mom, you know, it just wasn’t something that I could justify.
It was Christmas and I went to my sister’s as usual. My mom was still living there at the time and we exchanged whatever it was we exchanged. I remember one year making everyone pies as their gifts. Wasn’t that a cool idea? Sometimes being poor makes you be very creative. My favorite Christmas memory as a teenager was the year that we couldn’t afford presents so my mom gave me her pearls. BEST Christmas EVER. Not that I want to be poor again, but it really isn’t the end of the world. Sorry, I keep digressing.
So it’s Christmas, and my sister has never been one to show too much sappy emotion or give too much thought into things so my expectations are pretty low there. It’s not a bad thing. She’s my sister you know, that’s just who she is. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that on that Christmas she gave me that ring. I was then, and still am flabbergasted. I think I scared them with my reaction. I probably screamed and then started to cry uncontrollably. That was the nicest thing she has ever done for me. Really, I’ve never forgotten.
Dennis and I had two children. Only one lived (Zachary). We lost a baby (Andrew) who died in utero around 5 months. He was a perfectly formed little boy when I delivered him. I have always thought that the stones in this ring have represented those two babies and I have never wanted to forget what I had with my husband. The first person in my life that thought I was worth it.
My sister has no idea how much that meant to me. It’s still like a miracle that #1 she even had that much money, and #2 thought to get it for me. Maybe she’s a little nicer than I give her credit for too.
So what did I find? I found that ring under the tree, I found that my sister is a good person and pays attention (on occasion) I found that even when there are bad circumstances and divorce there are things we want to hold onto. If Howard represented my first boy relationship in life, then I guess Dennis represented by first adult relationship. (we won’t even go into John 🙂 ) I savor all the lessons learned from both of them. I loved them both (ok, John too.) Maybe in relationships it’s like Howard was the baby step, Dennis the toddler, John definitely the adolescence, and now Phil.
Sometimes I can still wear the ring, when I’m not in my chubby swollen mode. Even though I don’t wear it often I still have the memories when I look at it. My sister getting it out of “hock” for me was just as meaningful as the ring itself.