This is one of those "remind me to tell you later" posts that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago....
Fifteen years ago yesterday, I lost my diamond engagement ring. (Don't ask me why I remember the date, I'm just weird with numbers that way. I remember license plate numbers of friends from high school. WHEN we were in high school. But don't ask me where I put my car keys when I got home today....)
Almost just like the weather we had yesterday, it was the first crisp fall morning here in the South, probably the first morning we had to wear jackets. I was a little distracted. Not only because it was Friday, but I was going to buy a new vehicle after school. Alone. Because although I was married at that time, I was mostly single. And a woman was coming to school to talk to me about being an adjunct instructor at our local technical college. I figured I wasn't doing enough already, teaching high school full-time, raising a nine-year-old, coaching the high school swim team, and teaching a Weight Watchers class one night a week (that was before my relapse). For some reason I thought I needed.....no, welcomed.....the additional challenge of teaching remedial reading at the technical school. Whatever.
Sometime during the day I realized my diamond engagement ring was gone. I didn't panic, not at first. I figured that in my distracted state, I must have neglected to put it on that morning. I got through the school day, stopped and bought a truck that afternoon, took the person who was to become my ex to pick up HIS truck, and then I went home to search for my ring. It was not in the jewelry box. It was not on the dresser. It was not on the sink. It was gone.
When ex came home, I was crying. Uncharacteristically for him, he asked, "What's wrong?"
"I've lost my diamond."
First he thought I said "I've lost my mind," referring to the fact that I had bought him a truck. His misunderstanding was probably closer to the truth.
When he ascertained what I was really upset about, he sort of scoffed. "I'll buy you another one," he said. Yeah right. WHO just bought WHOM a truck? WHO made more money? WHO was now working one full-time and two part-time jobs? But I digress.
In his defense (and I don't do that very often), it's probably the same thing most men would have said. They don't understand. They think if you lose/break/damage/tear up/get tired of something, you just get a new one. An engagement ring isn't something you can replace. Especially not this one. The diamond had belonged to my mother, and because that is my birthstone, she had promised me right out of the womb that I could have it for my sixteenth birthday. That ring was one of my most prized possessions. I had the diamond set into a more contemporary setting when I got married the first time. How gallant of him to offer to replace something that he had no part of in the first place. Here I go digressing again.
I was beyond distraught at the loss of my ring. I had recently lost 50 pounds, and it never occurred to me that I needed to have the ring resized. It hadn't been slipping off, but the cool weather on that morning must have made my finger shrink just enough.
I told everyone who would stand still long enough to listen that I had lost that ring.
I took a day off from school and cleaned the house looking for my ring. I looked under the stove and refrigerator. I pulled back the sides of the waterbed mattress, and if I hadn't been confident that it couldn't have worked its way underneath the rubber mattress, I would have drained the damn thing.
I searched the car and the yard.
I emptied the vacuum cleaner bag.
I examined the inside of the washing machine and dryer.
I was just before accusing ex of pawning it, because I am 99.9% sure he did that with a dinner ring of mine AND my college ring. Hate is such a strong word.......and sometime it isn't nearly enough.
I made an appointment with a hypnotist. I'm not kidding. I knew that it was possible it wouldn't get the ring back, but I was determined at least to find out exactly where and when I lost it. It was going to cost $75 to be hypnotized, and believe me, I didn't have $75 at that time. That's how devastated I was.
Two weeks after I lost the ring, I was sitting in the bleachers of the football stadium watching my swim team members run laps. One of the girls didn't feel well that day, so she was sitting next to me. I was still brooding.
"Are you missing a ring?" she asked, looking at my left hand.
How in the world does someone notice something like that? I'm not a noticer.......except of license plate numbers and random dates.
I gasped. "Yes," I replied, distraught all over again. "How did you know that?"
She shrugged. "I found one in the parking lot this morning and turned it in."
She described the ring perfectly, a center stone with smaller stones on either side, with a thin yellow gold band. She said it appeared to be a little scratched, like maybe it had been run over at least once. I burst into tears, scaring that little girl almost to death.
Two weeks. It had lain in the parking lot of this almost-inner-city high school for TWO WEEKS, and not only had someone A) found it; and B) turned it in but...... C) it was someone I knew who NOTICED I WAS MISSING IT. (She must have been the only person in the entire school I hadn't told at that point.) What are the odds?
She said she had turned it in to the bookkeeper, who had left for the day by the time this conversation took place. I called my sister, boo-hooing to the point that she almost couldn't understand what I was saying. I couldn't sleep that night. I was at school early the next morning, because I knew the bookkeeper arrived early. I tore into her office, teary-eyed and trembly-voiced.
"Did someone turn in a ring to you?"
"Yes," she said. "Was it yours?"
"Yes," I blubbered.
She didn't even make me describe it. She said, "Here you go."
And she took it off her hand.