I was a teenager when I first wore this ring.
Dean and I bought these simple silver bands for each other as a symbol of our love , and I was proud to wear it on the third finger of my right hand.
Traditionally, wedding rings are worn on the left hand, but due to some strange growth anomaly it didn’t quite fit properly, and was prone to sliding off. I was rake-thin then, and my fingers were bony. The ring still slid about on my other hand, but was more secure.
I was distraught when we took a trip to Bethells Beach once, and after splashing around in the inlet that leads to the ocean, got out to find the ring was gone. I can still feel that punch of sorrow and grief in my gut now, as if I had literally lost our love and all that it meant.
After about ten minutes of frantically digging around in the sand, we found it.
That incident has been a metaphor for many of our ups and downs over our seventeen years together, as we grew together as adults. Somehow though, we always managed to find the ring.
Neither of us have ever lived alone. We both lived with our parents for the first five years of our relationship before moving in together after we married in 2000, in a ceremony that had absolutely no legal standing or recognition.
We had our rings engraved on the inside with each other’s name, and the date of our union, May 6.
Our twenties came and went, and my skeletal fingers became thicker as I put on weight. My ring was now part of me, and couldn’t come off without surgery. It was a strong bond.
I remember when I was younger looking at the wedding rings on the hands of my mum and dad, and how they too were tightly bound to the skin. Not dangerously so, but enough that they looked like they had always been there, part of them.
I feel like that myself now. I cannot remember what life was like before Dean, except in memories of a person that no longer exists.
He was a kid who felt unlovable, ugly, alien. Someone who was destined to be forever alone. It took a long time for that kid to fade away, and by the time he did, he had made many mistakes. Dean put up with all of them.
About a year ago, my ring developed a crack. A clean, straight cut.
“You should be able to get it off now,” Dean said.
The opportunity was certainly there. I could use the break to prize the ring apart and slide it past my joints, but I worried that the years had made it fragile, and I didn’t want it to snap in two.
Sometimes we remain in denial about things even when they are right in front of us. We hope that things will somehow work out if we just keep going in the same direction, because we’re too frightened to change course.
It’s like sitting at a bus stop late at night, a few minutes after the last bus is scheduled to arrive. Is it still coming, or have you missed it? How much longer do you wait in the darkness before you admit to yourself that the bus is gone?
I will never forget what this ring symbolizes, and all the years, memories and love that it holds. But I cannot ignore the split any longer.
With deep sadness, it’s time to take it off.