It’s funny the way we get attached to the little tokens in our life. How items we see each day become part of us, interwoven with the people and places that come to mean something to us. The summer after I graduated high school I was a part of a dinner theater production and worked as a life guard and traveled to Washington D.C. as a youth activist. I babysat my little sister and read books and got a tan. I chose bedding and a laptop for college, enrolled in classes and spent summer evenings on a porch swing imagining college with Danny. And as I flitted about that summer, he worked – sometimes at two jobs in one day – to save up money to buy me a ring.
When spring rolled around and the summer before seemed like just a pre-college blur he opened a little box and handed me this ring.
And the next spring, we stood in our favorite spot on campus and he gave it to me again. For forever this time.
Years passed and it became a part of my hand, an extention, a comfortable weight. The girl who had stood over a case and found the sparkliest, least traditional star set in gold calmly tucked it into gloves and slipped it off to mix dough. It caught my eye sometimes during grad school exams and when reaching for a wine glass while hosting friends in Chicago. In little time there became tokens that meant just as much to me: a teaset from my mother, my master’s diploma, a picture of my first day of teaching. But none of those things followed me as one day turned into the next.
But this summer, as we pulled out of a hotel in Portland after a two week road trip up the coast, I put my hands on the steering wheel and felt the wind get knocked out of me. The center prongs of my ring stood empty, jagged. The center stone had fallen out and could not be found, no matter the searching.
So again, this fall, I curled up on the couch and flitted from lesson plans to novels and social gatherings while Danny worked a fifth or sixth shift – moonlighting – to buy me a ring.
We initially talked about replacing it with something more practical and set out to some local jewelers to find what I thought I wanted. That’s when we met Doug, who listened patiently as I described some simpler variation and promised to work with us to design just the thing.
And over the course of a few months, a handful of visits and a number of emails, he finally encouraged us just to bring my ring in. Let’s take a look at it.
It’s odd, like I said, the way we come to feel about things in our life. I had an odd but incredibly accute sense of shame over loosing the stone. The empty prongs reached out, accusingly. I walked around with a naked hand for months, offering no explanation to quizzical glances from others. But the next visit we brought it in and with almost a tenderness, he pulled it from the box and took it back to be cleaned. In a few moments, I slid it back onto my finger and realized that no other ring could ever take its place. A few weeks later, Doug had replaced the stone with a more modern, secure setting and again I felt the comfortable weight of committment.
Few people that we have chance to meet in passing are able to truly touch our lives in the way that Doug touched ours. He says that in the jewelery business he’s had the chance to see couples through engagements and weddings, anniversaries and children. He knew, innately, that I didn’t know what I really wanted and patiently offered up solutions until I landed right back again at the beginning. With the same little star that first caught my eye nearly ten years ago.
So many thanks to Doug and DeVon’s Jewelers for restoring my ring and a little piece of my heart.