Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Winker

A man winked at me at the library a few weeks ago.

But that isn't really the beginning of this story.

I knew that I wanted to marry Devin approximately five minutes after I met him.  When I knew for sure that we were going to be married, my friend Al printed off pages and pages of rings, wedding and engagement, and I went through and circled the ones I really liked, exed out the ones I couldn't stand, and so gave her a feeling for what I wanted.  And I really only wanted one ring. One very simple ring that I could wear first as an engagement ring, and then as my wedding ring.

Devin called Al up and asked her if she would help him find a ring that I would like.  They found the perfect one.  As a 17 or so year old girl at a church activity we had made wedding cans, where we put all our hopes and dreams and plans for our ideal wedding into a can, sealed it, and never opened it until we were engaged.  When I opened mine after Devin proposed, I found inside a picture cut from a magazine that was the mirror image of the ring he had given me.

It was a very simple ring, just a band with a string of small diamonds running across the top, inlaid into the band. I was very particular about not ever having a diamond scratch any future babies I might have.  The bad news is that Devin proposed in August, and so when I went to have my finger sized (so Al would know what size to tell Devin to get - we were all so sneaky sneaky behind everyone's backs) my finger was summer-plump. Yeah, I don't know if that is a medical issue for most people, but my fingers (apparently) swell considerably in the summer.

And so, I quickly learned that I had to take my ring off in the fall, when it got cold, go without it all winter, and could only put it back on in the spring when it began to warm up again.  Because if I tried to wear it through the winter it would fall off at random times: while trying to eat dinner at a restaurant (I had to crawl under the table), while waving goodbye to friends, while doing anything that involved moving my left hand. Which, I use considerably less than my right but is still in fairly frequent motion.

This system of wearing it only in the summer worked great for me, and Devin and I joked about it because he can't wear his ring in the summer. (a long story for another day) And so I was ringless in the cold months, and he ringless in the hot.  What a couple we were.  But as I said, we got used to this system and moved our merry way through life. Until an unexpectedly cold Saturday in March.  I had decided that it was finally warm enough for me to put my ring back on, and so doing I then went out to work in the yard.  I put on my gardening gloves and worked for hours.  It wasn't until the evening of the next day, Sunday, that I noticed it was missing.  I had gone for months without wearing it, remember, and so the naked finger didn't bother me immediately, but an awareness that something was wrong slowly overcame me until I figured it out. And started crying. Devin searched everywhere. He combed through the grass. The flower beds. He turned the gloves I had worn inside out.  We never found my ring.

I would occasionally think that I should get a new ring, but it felt like a betrayal to my old perfect one, and it felt like admitting defeat. That in buying a new one I was acknowledging the complete loss of the old one, and I was not prepared to deal with that.

Enter the library winker.  I had at times previously wished that I had a ring on my finger - that comforting symbol of marital status.  But it had never really been an obvious issue, as no one had paid much notice to me either way.  And then out of nowhere, I'm standing at the checkout line, helping Hallie check out her books, when I happen to look up and see a guy that I've seen at the library often turn at the same moment to look at me, and wink.  I'm sure it was a harmless wink, just a sort of nod your head gesture, or friendly wave, but geek that I am I totally freaked.  Not knowing how to respond I gave a sort of non-committal half smile that was certainly more of a grimace than anything else, scooped up Hallie, Hanna, and my books, and took off.

I was determined to get a new ring.  Granted, he probably was not flirting with me.  But I knew that I would feel better with one on my finger.  And, as fate would have it my friend invited me to a Lia Sophia party.  So I went, planning on only spending the birthday money my Grandma had sent me.  (Thanks Grandma!)  But then I saw a small, simple, shiny little ring calling to me and couldn't resist. Take that Library Winker, I thought as I ordered it. (Actually, I wasn't thinking about him at all. I was thinking, "I hope Devin doesn't mind that I just picked out my own "wedding ring" without telling him...")

It's true, this ring probably cost a fifth? a tenth? of what my original ring cost.  But as I have felt it safe and secure on my finger (I ordered two sizes smaller than my original ring), and each time I look down and see its bright and perky shine on my hand, I can't help but feel happy.

And Devin says that now that I've finally gotten a new ring I'll find the original one in the yard tomorrow.  I wish.


  1. I cannot believe that I did not know that you lost your wedding ring. Wow.

    I am happy that you have a new one!

    And I know exactly how you feel. Whenever I have to have interactions with strange men (strangers to me, I mean), I always try to make sure my left hand is in full view even if absolutely NO haha indications have been made that he might be flirting with me. I guess I'm just really paranoid. Better safe than sorry, right??

    I want to see a picture of the new ring you chose. And I'm impressed that two sizes smaller fits you. How long have you had it? It seems like it wouldn't fit during the summer. My fingers are definitely fatter in the summer as well.

    One of my friends had a REALLY expensive engagement ring that met a bathroom disaster. Somehow it was flushed down the toilet. They definitely never found that one again. The random happy ending though is that they have some rich relatives and one of them (who wished to remain anonymous) purchased the exact same uber expensive ring for her again! My friend had been really devastated for months. She has definitely not lost her new one.

    I'm always worried that Jeff's ring will go down the bathroom sink, because he always sets it on the edge before he showers. It never has though.

  2. maybe you should get two rings - one for the summer, and one for the winter :)

  3. I take more than a little comfort in knowing that I am not the only one who has lost a wedding ring in the yard.

  4. I still remember when my dad lost his in the ocean! And never got a new one. And my mother's allergic to hers, so I don't think I've ever even seen it. I rarely wear mine since I swell up when pregnant and just got used to not wearing it. Plus, though I should probably not mention this here... publicly, lol, sometimes it's nice to 'be single'. Especially at the beach. LOL (Peter knows what I'm talking about). It's nice to be noticed once in a while and feel like something more than a wrinkly, stretched out, over-extended, hideous mother. So bring on the winks. Unless you're creepy. Then don't even look at me or I'll kick you.
    The end.

  5. I just keep thinking of your grimace. So funny!