Friday, October 19, 2007

Lost and Found

Debbie lost her engagement ring on Wednesday.

We were getting ready to go to bed and she had just finished fixing the sheet on the bed when she realised that her ring wasn't on her finger.

We searched the bedroom. We checked under the bed. We stripped off the bedsheets and pillowcases and ran our fingers over the seams to check that nothing was stuck inside. We moved the bed and then emptied the drawers in the chest next to the bed and went through all the clothes that were stored in case it had fallen in.

We checked the living room. We looked down the back and sides of the sofa and through the wedding debris on and around the coffee table. We checked under the rug, and on the windowsill amongst her makeup and examined the folds in the documents in the box under the window. We looked around the rubber ring inside the washing machine and down the back of the cupboards and through the washing that had been dumped on the spare bed and in the small piles of jewellery in on the chest of drawers and in our pockets and bags.

Two hours of looking and no ring. We got up the next day and called the police lost and found, the bus company and searched around Debbie's desk at work.

We came home last night and did the whole thing again.

Debbie has lost her engagement ring. We get married in five weeks, so then she'll have another ring to wear, signalling the progress through the journey of our relationship.

And she cried and had nightmares and lost concentration at work looking at her temporarily bare hand, thinking of when I got down on one knee on an Ayrshire beach under the stars and moon and asked her to be with me always while crying like a lost child. And I'm sad too, because that ring was special because it was there when she said yes.

But what saves me from despair is the fact that this ring wasn't another piece of jewellery, it is a symbol. It says "I'm in love with John" when she's out with her friends in the pub after work, and "John loves me" when she shows it to her family with that glow on her face, that undeniably glorious sign of warmth and true happiness that is so unique to her. The ring is because I love her, not why I love her. It's a reminder of our relationship, not the embodiment of it. She still loves me when she's out with friends, and I still love her.

That's why, even if we don't find this ring, I'll put another one on her finger at the end of November and promise in front of all the important people in our lives to love her forever. And we'll be sad for a while because she's lost the ring, and happy forever because we've found each other.