I first saw the small dark blue ring box on the front table as I was heading toward the kitchen, my eyes picking it out from the odd paper clips, mail waiting to be posted, set of keys, small jar of automobile touch-up paint, used AA batteries, loose business cards that had not been collecting for months. Hmph. I lifted the box and opened it.
Two gold rings sat in the empty hole of the small box. Typically people worry about their valuables being lifted. Here we seemed to have earned them.
The first one was a wedding band, not rounded but, as I lifted it from the box, eight-sided. Nice gold! Nice band. The second band was my husband’s initials. Also nice, nice work, nice gold. Fourteen caret. But he definitely did not have this made during our marriage. And the rings were really quiet, not giving anything away.
“Hey, honey,” I asked. Do you know anything about these rings?”
“Sure,” he answered. “Rachel (now a mother in her own right) brought it over from her mom’s this morning and handed it to me.”
“Just like that?”
“She said, “Daddy, Mom wants you to have this.””
I didn’t do the math at that time. I didn’t need to calculate that his divorce had taken place over 23 years ago and that his ex- had moved at least two times. In 23 years, your newborn kids will have grown up, gone to college, begun careers, and maybe even had kids of their own. But it’s never too late to put your children in the middle of your failed first marriage.
A few evenings later, when the only sounds to be heard were the ticking of the clock and the snoring of the dog, I took the wedding band out of its box again and gave it a closer examination. This time I saw an engraving on the inside. I took it over to where the light was pretty good, and strained to read it. Something about a heart and love. The words were familiar, but it was funny to think that there was a time when he meant them to somebody else. It’s okay. Man can neither create nor destroy gold; he can, however, melt it down and create something anew from it. Such would be the case with love. With that love.
The next day, my husband was downstairs in the TV room watching something. I called down, “How about if I sell that wedding band for cash. You mind?”
Like a boomerang, the voice called back up: “Go right ahead.”
Today was a good enough day for that. I wrapped the ring up in a cheap plastic baggie, so as to not glorify it. Only a few blocks away was the first “We buy gold” shop. A pawn shop but really nice you wouldn’t think of it as a pawn shop; no guns, no interstellar aliens, certainly not the pawn shop I knew from “Men In Black II.” Regular people, musical instruments – flutes, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, horns, electric pianos, all in really good shape. Golf clubs. I guess a pawn shop reflects the town where you live.
“How much would you give me for this ring?” I asked the main guy at the counter, as I unwrapped the baggie, removed the ring, and set it down on the counter. “Probably just the value of the gold but that’s okay.”
The main guy got out his scale, he and the other guy were talking back and forth and determined today’s price of gold, weighed the ring, did some calculations, and and the one guy set the ring back on the counter and said, “Fifty dollars.”
“So what’s the story?” I’m almost sure they thought I was selling my own wedding band. A recent divorce. Or maybe a bankruptcy . “It was from my husband’s ex” and I filled them in on the details. Big smiles! They liked the story.
This was a good price. It was the going price for gold. The ring, with the inscription, could never be resold, and it was better that way.
To my surprise, they asked for my driver’s license. That’s where things got really painful. I just last month had had to renew my license and get a new photo taken. It was a miserable morning and I was totally unprepared for that. Oh, what an awful photo this driver’s license photo is. Definitely looks like a mug shot. But the guys need to make sure the merchandise not stolen, just in case the police come looking for just that ring, reported as stolen. I decided not to say anything like “Don’t look at the photo” figuring that if I said anything, they’d look at it, and if I said nothing, I stood a chance that the would not.
I signed the receipt, got my money, and left, telling everybody that if I hear of anybody who needs a musical instrument, I’ll send them their way.
The cash was great. Only a few days later, my husband and I went to the movies and dined on popcorn, tea and soda paid for in fresh cash, my wedding band and his securely on our ring fingers and coated with butter.
And I learned that the next time I get my photo taken for my driver’s license, I should go to the hair salon first.