I’m not wearing my wedding ring and it feels very strange.
The truth is I haven’t worn it in weeks, but it’s only now, looking at Hubs’ bare hands that I feel odd. Somehow when he removed his, it got me looking for mine. Like I have to visually confirm its absence.
Sometimes I still feel its imprint and my thumb darts across my palm searching for the thin bands on my fingers. It’s like having a ghost appendage.
I remember how important that stupid ring was.
When I was going through fertility treatments for Baby Girl, Hubs and I weren’t married. We weren’t engaged. We just lived together in our small nest of a condo.
At the clinic I’d sit in the waiting room with countless other women on the same cycle, and I’d hide my hands, wary of judgment. For some reason their diamonds were the first things I noticed. They glinted with ‘the right way’ of doing things.
My finger felt naked.
I finally got up the courage to talk to Hubs about it.
“So..um.. now that we’re doing some pretty hardcore trying… have you thought about.. you know.. maybe getting married?” My heart was slamming in my ears. This was not how I pictured this conversation. Not remotely.
“Well, you know Honey, I want to, but why don’t we wait until the business is doing a little better.. our finances will be stronger.”
Well that made sense. The voice in my head, however, did not.
“I feel stupid in the clinic. I feel like I’m the only one who’s not wearing a ring and everyone’s looking at me and judging me because I’m trying to have a kid and I’m not married.” I blurted it out. Hubs looked amused.
“Do you think they might stone you or something?”
We burst into laughter.
Months later, I was pregnant, and the ring crept back into the picture. It was as if a panic seized me. A Victorian panic.
“Oh dear sweet lord. I’m carrying an illegitimate child!” My brain had officially turned into an Edith Wharton novel. And then, she will be destitute, and her relations will shun her, and she will be a sad, wilted, virago and at the mercy of a cruel society.. for shaaaaaaame!
I pounced on Hubs one morning.
“I can’t do it any more. I need a ring. I really need one. I’m freaking out.”
“I can see that.”
“Well can we go looking for rings? I mean even if we aren’t getting married?”
“We’re getting married. Just not now.”
“Ok. Whatever. I need a ring. I can’t handle feeling like Spike from Degrassi anymore.” My hormonal wail was in full crescendo. Why did he not understand how important the ring was to me? Gollum, Gollum.
You know the rest. Maybe not the whole story, but a variation. Fill in the blanks, I got my ring.
And now I wonder, what would have happened if I hadn’t asked? If I hadn’t freaked out? If I hadn’t pressed so hard? Maybe we never would have been married. Maybe he never would have asked. Maybe that would have been a better path. Maybe he would have been happier. Maybe I would have been. Maybe life wouldn’t be as complicated right now.
Why was it so important to me in the first place? Why the urgency?.. Why the rush?
Fear of judgment? Fear of being alone? Needing to give my parents what I thought they wanted? Because they didn’t need me to get married. No one did. No one ever judged. And certainly no one ever treated me differently when my left hand was occupied with it’s own little glinting treasure.
I can’t help but cry a little when I think that my wedding ring may actually be what led to the deal breakers in our marriage.
I keep my rings in my bedside table, in an old glasses-case. I sometimes look at the closed drawer and wonder.
I wonder if some night I’ll have a couple glasses of wine and get it into my head to parade through the house in my old prom dresses. I wonder if I’ll open the drawer and slip those rings back on; sink to the floor in a sad mound of crinolines and enjoy a fantasy just for a moment.
Homecoming was never so bittersweet.