Monday, April 16, 2012

nup·tial (npshl, -chl) adj. 1. Of or relating to marriage or the wedding ceremony.

Originally posted a month ago. One of my favorite pieces of prose thus far and intensely personal.  

*  *  *

I have three wedding rings.
The one on the left is my first original wedding ring. The others are surrogates.

Same marriage. Three bands.

The first one doubles as a wedding ring and an engagement ring. It's a white gold band with three sparkly, hopeful diamonds. Even though it is often admired for it's uniqueness, there's tradition in the center diamond, as it belonged to my mother and came from her engagement ring. When the jeweler removed the stone from the prongs on her gold thin band, somehow the diamond chipped. I had them set it anyway, and on May 10, 2002, Cole and I wed, exchanging bands, mine with an aesthetic flaw, yet nonetheless sturdy. The inside reads, "With all my love."

Somewhere around year 7, my wedding ring didn't fit. I lost so much weight, my body and mind underwent so much change that with even the subtlest movements, my ring would slide off and ping ping ping to the floor. And during violent gestures, it would launch across the room, a thud and a dent in the drywall.

Afraid to lose the ring, I boxed it safely in a velvet lined jewelry box between a wooden bracelet that my sister brought back from Korea--with some symbol on it that meant "friendship" or "love" or "dignity" and a red slap watch. I swapped it out with a ring I purchased years ago in high school. A band made up of 4 thin bands, which at first glance appear solid, but when removed the puzzle ring crumbles into the pieces; 4 weak rings that bend under pressure.

The middle ring is a puzzle ring, which is made up of four smaller rings. You can see from this shot that the middle one doesn't always have it together.
I kept the pieces together and kept the illusion on my finger, though on more than one occasion, the ring was mistaken for costume jewelry, not a sign of my marital status. There were a few awkward exchanges and explanations. Apologetic smiles and flattered glances.

I wore the puzzle ring for almost three years, watching it wear and flatten in places that should be round. Since the ring has so many crevasses, I spent a good deal of the time scraping the edges clean with my fingernails, but it was never fully untarnished.

At first I resisted replacing it, because I was waiting to see if I would lose more weight, to see if I was destined to shrink anymore. I had asked my husband to make the adjustments to my first ring, but when he procrastinated month after month and year after year, I grew used to twisted ring.

It wasn't until after I took a trip down memory lane that I decided it was time for a new ring. I was flying back to my family when I had a layover in Denver, CO. In a Native American boutique, on a rack between beaded arm bands and a rack of turquoise dangly earrings, I saw my third ring. It is a wide band made of a darker metal with a matte finish, and it has an etching of two flowers that seem to be reaching for each other, tails vine-ing out behind them, but never quite touching. To me it seemed a symbol of power and fortitude, something my high school ring didn't provide. However, when lifted, the heft I thought it had disappeared like a mirage.

Ultimately the longing flower ring cost me $12. Less than both of the other rings, but I felt it was a purchase of far greater value. It would endure the pressures of life without bending. It will never replace my first ring, but it also won't be mistaken for costume jewelry.

I doubt it will be my last ring. I doubt my body will stop enduring change in the years to come. My hands will no doubt be required to carry weights I cannot imagine. My tinted industrial, yet feminine band fits me, resting in the indented cavity on my left ring finger, filling the emptiness.

For now.


  1. So beautiful and loving! Never heard the term puzzle ring before, but our wedding rings are three golden bands intertwined.

    The beauty of it is that it accomodates my weight loss and gains too as I can wear it in two different ways. I have already had it resized as my fingers do the thin thing too :)

  2. Thank you for stopping at my blog. I like your blog and it is very well written.

  3. Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a charming topic for the "N" post! And lovely rings, too - all beautiful, but I have to say, there's something about the third ring which really appeals to me. And congrats on the thinning fingers! :-)

    Some Dark Romantic

  5. This was a unique post for the letter N. Good! I am not much of a jewelry wearer but I do keep a gold ring with a ruby and two diamonds. It's been handed down through the family and is supposed to be over 200 years old.

  6. What a lovely personal story! I cannot imagine wearing anything other than my wedding ring, and have not even considered the idea of weight fluctuations. But I suppose in the end, the ring is a symbol, and any ring will do. Plus it's a great excuse to go jewellery shopping!

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger



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