I was never one for jewellery. I took the view that a man should really only wear a high quality watch and a wedding band. One of those hallmarks of masculinity for me. A stylish watch; an elegant suit but he polishes his own shoes. These should all come naturally to my ideal of masculinity. There are other aspects but that encompasses one facet of the type of man I try to be. I’ve had that ring little over a year but only started wearing it every now and then over the past few months. It has a story of course. All jewellery should.
“Would you wear a ring for me?” It was an unusual question for a relationship that was less than a week old. “Darling are you asking to marry me?” I’m nothing if not a tease. “No, it’d just be nice. It’d let other women know that you’re taken but only if you have no problem wearing one.” I laughed. I like to make my friends happy and I like to bring joy to other people’s lives. For me this was a no brainer. “Shouldn’t you be down on one knee or something?” But it didn’t mean I couldn’t still have some fun. “If it’s a problem it’s fine.” I took her by the hand “No, it isn’t a problem but I can’t wait to make my friends and family back home freak out by saying I’m going ring shopping on Facebook.” When I lose the imp in me you might as well make preparations for the wake.
All my relationships have been long distance. This one was no different. We’d met through blogging and I’d flown across the ocean to meet her. I’m kind of stupidly romantic that way but for me we’d done everything right. We’d had a good long friendship before hand. I was familiar with some of the people from her church and when I arrived I got on with everyone. The only thing that sucked was the whole long distance aspect.
So we went ring shopping. Two of her friends went with us as we’d met them for coffee on the way. “What type of ring should I get?” “I don’t mind. You’re the one who will have to wear it. You pick it out.” “Aren’t girls meant to have the idea of a ring in their head already?” “Those are our rings silly. Not guys’ rings.” I didn’t have a clue what type of ring to get. We were in an Irish shop. It could have been worse with all the stereotypical Irish junk but I managed to finally settle on one. With her in college she couldn’t afford to pay for it. It wasn’t a big deal. I was just happy that she wanted me to wear a ring. It was proof in a way that she was committed to what was going to be a tough relationship.
It took a while to get used to the ring on my finger. I couldn’t wash my hands while wearing it. I realised immediately that putting it on the kitchen sink was a bad habit to start so my habit was to put it in my back pocket. Half the time after washing my hands I would forget to put it back on. Eventually though it became familiar. The weight on my hand. I came to feel it was a part of me. I liked having it on my hand and on my finger. Yes, this was a new step; a new direction but one that had me on a path that I wanted to embark on. A woman who shared my version of Christianity; who blogged; who danced who put up with my flaws and failings. A woman I wanted to build a life together with. A life built for a Hollywood love story.
There’s a reason we go to the movies. Escapism. We want to forget about our lives for two hours and imagine how they could be. Were you to draft a script about the heroine in this instance there would be a happy ending. She gets the guy she loves in the end. It just wasn’t this guy. For Hollywood it isn’t cheating on the guy who was merely there to make the heroine realise which of the men in her life she truly loved. That guy only wanted the best for her and wanted her to be happy. For Hollywood that’s enough to brush him out of the picture.
So this ring which was meant to be a symbol of love across the oceans crossed an ocean never to return to whence it came. In the movies it’s alright to forget about the guy who bought a symbol of fidelity expecting it to mean that faithfulness would abound – or if not that, at least friendship. The symbol he didn’t wear on his finger for fear of questions when the relationship was in its death throes so he put it on a chain and wore it close to his heart, believing that love between friends would mean that at least friendship would remain. The symbol that eventually became a thunderbolt of pain that clapped throughout his entire being with every beat of his heart before the burnings sensation of it on his skin meant he could no longer bear the sight of it such was the furnace of emotions it unleashed through him. The symbol that eventually became as cold, inert and lifeless as the metal from which it was forged.
I don’t believe in hiding or getting rid of things unless they no longer serve any purpose. This ring still serves a purpose for me but right now I can’t tell you what it is.