Friday, March 21, 2008

Rings, and the Symbolism Thereof

"So, have you really been married that many times?"

"No. These two gold rings are the ones which my wife and her first husband bought together. They're identical plain half-inch bands, rather unusual in a woman's wedding ring. When they had a quarrel, she took off her ring, and never put it back on. When they broke up, he gave her his. Years later, she brought the rings out and we put them on together.

"Not long after, we were at the Fall Festival and saw plain half-inch silver rings that matched ours perfectly, so we bought a pair of them for our right hands.

"And this one in the middle? One of our kids made this for my wife in art class, as a lost-wax project. See how it says 'MOM'?

"When my wife's arthritis reached the point where she couldn't wear her rings on her fingers any longer, she wore them for years on this cord around her neck. At some point, she just put it away.

"A couple of months ago, she walked up to me and snapped, 'Take off those rings and hand them over!' Horrified, whimpering, I began taking them off. It barely even occurred to me at the time that neither law nor custom obliged me to give them to her. I just did it, while she barked, 'Hurry it up, quit your whining!'

"If she'd just come to me some other way, if she'd said something like, 'If we're going to break up, you shouldn't still be wearing those rings,' quite possibly I'd have given them to her and said nothing more about it. I still don't really know why she chose such an in-your-face approach.

"Only days later did I finally go to her and say that her behavior had offended me, and that I thought she should have handled it with more sensitivity, to say the least. I pointed out that she had repeatedly accused me of showing disrespect to her, and suggested that she might try showing a little respect to me, especially in the context of our marriage and its possible continuation.

"An hour later, she tossed the cord, with all five rings on it, on the table in front of me and walked away without speaking.

"So I took the cord and put it around my own neck, and I've been wearing it ever since. Note that I haven't put the rings back on my fingers, out of respect for her feelings, but I'm carrying them next to my skin, out of respect for my own.

"What will become of the rings next? Well, if my wife and I do in fact break up, I'll give them to her, and if we definitively get back together, I'll put on a pair of the rings -- I don't now know which were hers and which were mine, but I'll put on the ones that fit me best -- and give her the others on the cord to wear or put away as she pleases.

"Either way, I'll put the cord in her hand, because wedding rings are important and should always be handled respectfully.

"Of course, so should marriages...."


still hot said...

Not actually how it happened, but John's memory of it is very typical of how he sees thing these days, especially if they involve me.

Dr. Psycho said...

Feel free to elaborate. Indeed, I wish you would.