Want me to show you my ring?
I have a ring that I wear on my left middle finger. It's been there since I bought it in my first year of university.
It's nothing special to look at. Just a sterling silver ankh, wrapped around my finger. I picked up at a jewellery kiosk in the Pen Centre one weekend when I was back to visit friends.
At the time I was looking for a gift for myself.
I had to convince myself to buy the ring. It was a frivolous expense that I could ill afford at the time. I’m usually reluctant to spend money on myself. And though I refused to admit it even to myself at the time, it was a bit of a fuck you to my beau. Fuck him and the other girls he was openly interested in. Fuck him for his perceived arrogance. For not paying attention to me. For closing me out from a large part of his world.
I suppose it’s appropriate that the ring fit my middle finger perfectly.
For all the nerve it took me to buy the ring, it took even more to wear it in front of him for the first time. I remember butterflies in my stomach at the thought of what he might say. How he might react. Would he like it? Would he think it was cool? Would he say I was just trying to imitate goth chic? When he spied it, I tried to be casually enthusiastic about it.
I recall his response as underwhelming.
The beau eventually declared himself an ex-beau, despite my protestations. Instead of trying any longer to crack back into his world, I decided I’d bashed my head against a wall long enough and opened a window of escape.
I called a complete stranger to express my admiration for his work on the school paper. A secret fan phone call became an invitation for him, friends and girlfriend to join me for a movie. Though the girlfriend passed, he and a friend showed up, and the world changed.
After a movie and stroll, I found myself at Tim Hortons with two new friends. The ring fascinated both. The one I was rapidly falling for wanted to try on the ring. Badly.
And though at that moment I wanted to offer everything in the world to him, I refused to let him try on my ring.
Things change shape over time.
The ring changed the shape of my finger, and my finger has changed the shape of the ring.
The ring itself has started to thin. It has become ever so slightly warped to fit me in the way that suits me best. The inside is streaked with wear, from years of absent-minded spinning.
The skin above and below it on my palm is roughed and thick — a slow process of constant friction over the course of 14 years. Beneath the ring, my skin is smooth and shiny. My finger itself is ever so slightly narrower where the ring has sat for all this time.
I spin the ring when I'm anxious. I play with it when I’m bored. I flip it around to remind me of things, such as to pick up milk, or to look something up online. And as soon as I complete the task, I shift my ring back to its rightful place.
I know some may look at it and wonder why, at my age, I’d wear such a trinket.
But for all the unspoken things it means to me, I could not have bought myself a better gift.