I lost my wedding ring today. I was standing in front of my 8th grade class, giving instructions, and suddenly I realized that my ring finger was empty, bare, naked. My heart skipped a beat or ten. I made my class stop journaling and search the room. They did not really help, saying things like, "It's your wedding ring, Ms. Lissnkids, aren't you SUPER upset?" I was. I was heartbroken, truly.
Obviously from the title you can infer that my ring was found, and indeed it was. I called my husband and in a quiet voice told him what had happened, and he promised to search as soon as he got home. My next class was doing debates, and in the middle of a very convincing argument about the ethics of human cloning, the phone rang. It was David, calling to let me know that the ring was found in the bed, where it had most likely fallen off while I was getting Monkey dressed. I was so relieved!
Before it was lost AND found, my students had offered up their usual explanation for something going missing: that is, somebody stole it, of course. I explained that it wasn't really worth a lot of money but that it was extremely important to me. "You got a cheap wedding ring?" one student asked. "Well, you should make your husband buy you a better one, then." I simply smiled and reiterated that the ring means so much to me, much more than its monetary worth.
As I struggled to keep from crying while searching my classroom (I have a firm no crying in school rule), memories associated with my "cheap ring" were flooding over me. I remembered how David's friend Loren had painted a picture and sold it to David so that Loren could use the money to purchase my engagement ring--a sterling silver Claddaugh ring--and give it to David as a gift, since tradition says the ring shouldn't be purchased by the giver.
I thought about the night he asked me to marry him, how we drove toward the setting sun on our anniversary and reached the ocean just as it was slipping down below the horizon. I remembered the way we walked in the darkness then toward the sound of the surf, walked hand in hand into the unknown, giddy with the uncertainty of that sound, the distance from land to sea indistinct and blurry. I felt like I was stepping off a precipice that night, not knowing which step would be my last one on solid ground, but he got down on one knee just before we stepped off the edge of that abyss and started talking about loving me forever.
We were married three weeks later, in a beautiful ceremony that we wrote ourselves. Our altar was a fallen log on the banks of the Clackamas River, and our friend Doreen married us while wearing a wall tapestry and reading from a black leather binder that was only slightly less solemn because of the small Tasmanian Devil on one corner. We had eight or ten guests, some of whom we had just met in the woods, and one of whom was living in a tent a little ways beyond the spot we pitched our own. He brought us a wedding gift of dry wood for our fire. Another man took photos for us and then disappeared. Loren's car broke down, and he and Michelle finally made it just as the ceremony was starting, walking with us between the two cedar trees that made our archway. We passed around a bottle of wine while soaking in a huge barrel full of steaming hot spring water and Brian gave a toast while his dogs ate our smoked salmon off the bench. Shae and Jerome sprinkled rose petals all around our tent and smudged the whole camp with sage and cedar. All this loveliness is tied into that small white gold band and silver Claddaugh that I have worn ever since. Irreplaceable.