As a crier I run the gamut, from getting choked up at the slightest provocation to outright bawling. I am not ashamed of this. Susan can attest to my waterworks, from the hitch-n-sniffle resulting from a poignant moment on television to something bordering on insane, like when I basically cried through the entire performance of Man of La Mancha at Glendale’s A Noise Within last year because though it’s one of my favorite musicals ever, that was my first time seeing it done live after spending a lifetime listening to the original Broadway soundtrack. It was like finally meeting someone you’ve known and loved all your life but always at a distance.
I broke into sobs this morning when Susan came into the library, saw me looking all consternated and asked what was wrong. This time it was out of genuine grief and embarrassment, and it took me a bit to get under control before I showed her my left hand and told her.
I’d lost my wedding ring.
I’d lost my wedding ring. And fuck if I didn’t just get choked up typing that.
“On the bike ride?”
I shook my head and told her as she put her arms around me and held me.
What happened was for Christmas my mom got us a pair of these really nice craftsman-y table lamps for the living room. The boxes — and the bulky styrofoam pieces within them — had been sitting around and yesterday being trash day, I’d taken them out to break them up and put them in the recycle bin, which had been full enough to only allow one box and styro to fit. So I left the other box for today.
And so this morning, the day after the trash had been picked up, I went down there and dutifully ripped the cardboard into small pieces, and then broke the big foamy inserts into littler bits as well. But in the course of that and perhaps because of last night’s Santa Ana’s negatively or positively charging the ions (or maybe my electric personality) I came away from that battle with my arms coated in micro styro bits. Seriously it looked as if I was being attacked by an army of tiny snowballs, and when wiping them off didn’t work I began vigorously flinging and shaking and whipping my arms to dislodge the trespassers. Once I’d gotten most of it off I closed the bin and returned inside, whereupon some shortwhile later I went to reposition the ring and found it was not there.
I immediately realized that in my exaggerated gesticulations, I had launched my ring and wasted no time grabbing a flashlight and commencing a search and rescue operation, scouring a broad perimeter since the symbol of my lifelong love and devotion to my wife could have either come to rest on the bricks around where I had been standing, or into the recycle bin, or possible it bounced and rolled across the garage out onto the street or gone behind me into any of the dense ground foliage of the side garden.
How could that happen? Well I was about 50 pounds heavier when she’d placed the ring on my finger and I never got around to having the ring resized since losing that weight. It wasn’t the first time the ring’s come off. It’s done so in the shower, and most recently went flying across the backyard when I was playing fetch with Ranger.
So I looked all those places. Twice. Thrice. I chanted my mother’s favorite saying whenever she’d misplace her cigarettes or keys: “Nothing is lost it is simply not revealed.” I lifted up bricks. I parted ferns and peered between plants. I shined the light everywhere looking for a hint of glint of light off the white gold. What was that!? My heart leapt; had I found it? No, just a small washer, and so I continued. I went over every brick in the walkway going all the way to the backyard gate. I covered the garage roof. I studied the stretch of street and sidewalk in front of the house. I looked on the porch. I looked under the porch. My hope for success soon was replaced with the realization that though the ring may in fact not be far, it was beyond my reach.
And I felt sick. I’d rather have lost a kidney. And I came inside and sat at my desk and debated not telling Susan. I fished out the receipt for the rings from when we bought them at the Zales in the Glendale Galleria on April 17, 2004, and then at zales.com found they had a store in the Fox Hills Mall near where I work. I considered going there after work today and just getting a replacement band and no one would be the wiser.
Then she opened the door and saw me looking all consternated and asked what was wrong. And because I am not a liar I got all choked up and told her. And I told her about thinking about not telling her.
Being so amazingly level-headed, Susan put it all in perspective when she suggested going out front and tossing her ring away, too, after first asking if it meant we weren’t married anymore, and what I took her to mean was: “Chill out crybaby. It’s just a thing. It’s not what it represents,” which helped settle me down from being inconsolable, but not totally.
I went to the Zales as planned on the way home tonight and got an exact replacement — and one properly sized to better prevent future flingings — but its newness is a shining reminder of the almost three years that had been built into the first. And regardless of how unintentional the loss was, I can’t quite shake the frustration and sadness of having been so careless with something so meaningful and dear.