i was 19 when he gave it to me 19 years ago. i felt like i was disgraced and i had mumbled red faced that not only did i not deserve an engagement ring, i didn't want one anyway. My mom didn't have one and i wanted to have a simple gold band, just like her.
He didn't care.
He went to the store and bought the tiny diamond held in twisted gold... inexpensive, yet extravagant in this tender hour of our lives.
i was embarrassed to wear it to school. i missed him. My morning sickness was severe, classes were hard. i imagined knowing smirks on my classmates faces as my body rounded, my grey face making obvious the changes as my body grew.
i bought our wedding rings with gig money. Simple gold bands... His was large enough to engulf mine. Mine was notched out to fit the bend of my delicate engagement ring.
"You can get them soldered together after the wedding," the jeweller suggested as i tried them on together, admiring them on my hand.
At night, i would replay his sweet proposal...
i almost took it away from him with all my words, "You don't have to..." i interrupted him, knowing what was coming.
"No. Let me." i'm so grateful he insisted. i needed to hear those words affirming his love. Our love. The tender bud that we promised that night to nurture forever and ever.
And now, the mists of time have stolen his words from me. The only ones i remember were his gentle insistence, "It's not because of the baby. i want you to be my wife..."
It was dark and cloudy that February night when he put that little ring on my finger and i agreed to be his.
And she grew.
We loved her.
Together, we loved her.
i finished school and came home for good only one week before our wedding, and when we were finally alone, i pressed his big hand to my belly so he could feel her kicks. i searched his face for fear and found none. If he searched mine, i am confident that all he found there was adoration.
We got something we didn't deserve.
Oh the grace... Oh the mercy... Oh the kindness.
And this week, i gave that ring away. i pulled it off my finger, like i've known i was going to do since that tiny pale creature told me when she was wee that my engagement ring was something she would like to have one day. i pulled it off my finger like it didn't matter to me - and i placed it carelessly in front of the boy who had just asked us for our permission and blessing to ask her to be his wife.
He had started off with words running over each other, nervous, maybe a little flustered, "i had a fancy speech prepared, but i'll forego it..."
i didn't want him to regret rushing, so i stopped him.
"We want to hear it..."
And so he wove his words carefully, looking us in the eye and telling us his hopes and dreams. Their plans and wishes... Hers and his. Together.
The ring sat on the table.
"You can have it." i said.
It means less than nothing to me when you compare it to my love for the girl who will wear it from now on.
And maybe one day, she will write about the ring. Maybe one day, she will chronicle her happy marriage, and her mother's before her.
Let love be the theme that runs deep and wide from my love story to hers... and to any and all that follow.