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May 20, 2011

When I was sixteen, my parents gave me a ring with my birthstone in it; a promise ring. For those who may not be familiar with the term, a promise ring is a ring worn by adolescent girls, within the Christian faith, as a reminder and a promise not to have sex outside of marriage. They are very trendy and highly unsuccessful as a form of contraception.

I wore my aquamarine and diamond band on my left ring finger for ten years though, often telling people who asked about it that I was wearing it until I found a man comparable to my father (in goodness, faith, etc.) to replace it.

My husband was the one to finally do so, with a half bezel diamond solitaire, and eventually we added a wedding band. I wore those rings every day for over a year.

When he left, I took them off, set them on a shelf, and eventually gave them to a friend for safe keeping. I’m sure someday down the road, when my heart has healed some, I’ll look into selling them, or at least re-setting the diamond.

Now I wear no rings. My hand is painfully empty. Some mornings as I leave the house I really feel the absence of a ring on that finger; the significance is as abrupt and unnerving as realizing you’ve walked out the front door without pants. Frequently when I’m lost in thought or nervous, I find myself absent-mindedly reaching for the phantom band, which I swear I can still feel at times, to twirl it around my finger or slide it over my knuckle, the way I used to fidget with it. I often rub the skin where it should sit without thinking, or glance down in the sun, expecting to see my diamond dazzling there in the natural light.

Other days I hardly notice the lack of it, for no reason that I can discern or differentiate.

Seven weeks have passed, and this morning I walked out of the house feeling like I’d forgotten to put pants on.

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