(Pixabay CC0)
(Pixabay CC0)

With my lie, I fell into a ‘ring’ of fire for 4 years

Sometimes, not often, bad behavior is rewarded with sweetness. This is my story of a lost ring, a lie and one such sweet reward.

After his mother died, Handsome Hubby gifted me with her beautiful engagement ring.

I already had a stunner of an engagement ring. In fact, I was blessed with two: one from my father and one from my mother.

My first “engagement” ring, from my father, was a gambler’s bounty. Big Julie, as my father was known, had hit it big one night at the craps table. And when gamblers win (which happens on rare occasions), they rush to buy jewelry at conveniently located casino jewelry shops, to shed their cash winnings before they’re tempted to run back and continue their “lucky streak.”

Flush with his gambler’s glory, my father returned to our Las Vegas home and presented a shiny engagement ring to my mother, who was staring at a stack of unpaid bills.

“Why an engagement ring?” she queried. “I’ve already got a beautiful ring. Please take this one to a pawnbroker. We need the money.”

“It’s beautiful,” my father proudly protested. “Wear it on your other hand. I’m not selling it. Give it to Karen. She doesn’t have a diamond ring.”

“Give it to our 12-year-old daughter?” she asked incredulously. “I don’t think so.”

Back and forth the debate went with much pointing to the bills on the kitchen table.

Finally, my mother agreed to put the ring in a safe deposit box, with the promise to give it to my future fiancé. And that is what she did 20 years later, when she handed it to my spouse-to-be — for him to hand to me.

Years later, when my mother died, I, as the only daughter, received her beautiful engagement ring, one my father had bought her decades before. My husband, Jon, joked that our kids were set. With two diamond rings in the family, no engagement — or inheritance — battles loomed.

My husband’s mother’s ring was found in a Reno hotel trash can by a friend who worked as a janitor. Short on cash, he asked Jon’s parents if they wanted to buy it. It was a stunning piece. What anger or heartbreak led someone to throw it away?

When my husband’s mother passed, he proudly presented me with the ring she wore with pride for so many years.

Like my mother, I pointed out I already had an engagement ring (two, in fact).

Like my father, my husband suggested I could wear them on alternate hands, on multiple fingers, on alternating days!

Ironically, I’m not a big fan of diamonds. They’re cold-looking, like ice. They’re expensive. Wear them and you worry someone will bop you on the head and grab them. Plus, there’s the worry somebody will break in and steal them.

It’s that last fear that gets to my lie.

Fear of break-ins prompted me to get a safe deposit box and take out one ring at a time for special occasions.

If the occasion fell on a Saturday night, I would hide the ring “somewhere” in the house, until I could get to the bank on Monday or Tuesday or …

One time, I hid Jon’s mother’s ring and couldn’t remember where. I searched all my usual hiding places — and all my un-usual hiding places. I tore my closet apart. I tore cabinets apart. And I tore my hair apart. I searched for four years, but I still haven’t found that ring.

But that’s not the worst of it.

I lied — for the first and only time — to my husband. He specifically asked me to wear his mother’s ring to a special family party. The night of the big event, when I wasn’t wearing it, I told him I hadn’t had time to go to the bank to get it.

For four years, this inner ring drama has been ringing in my head. Finally, last week, I couldn’t stand it. I confessed.

I told Jon as he was heading out the door to a meeting. He listened, nodded and left.

The hours passed. He was gone longer than I anticipated. I called. No answer. I left a message. I texted. I worried. I waited a while. I called again. He answered.

“Are you mad at me?”

“I’ll be home in 20 minutes. Let’s talk when I get in.”

I was nervous.

I met him at the door. He smiled. Put his briefcase down and put his arms around me.

“You worried four years about a lost piece of carbon? We have weathered much bigger storms, suffered much bigger losses. I’m sorry you were so worried. You should have just told me.”

And then he kissed me.

Karen Galatz
Karen Galatz

Karen Galatz is the author of Muddling through Middle Age, a weekly humor blog. An award-winning journalist, her nonfiction and fiction essays and stories have been featured in multiple publications. She lives in Berkeley and can be reached at karen@muddling.me.