Monday, July 26, 2010

Untying the Knot

For years, I’ve been wondering what to do with my wedding rings: two simple white-gold bands, the engagement ring featuring a pink tourmaline surrounded by two tiny diamonds. During the two-year separation, I occasionally brought them out of their black box in the bathroom closet and wore them (usually while cleaning, for some reason) to give myself a jolt of weird security. Their existence suggested I had once had things figured out: there had been a man, a cat, a rented house, and dinner to come home to, followed by Law and Order reruns. At the same time they were a reminder that I had failed to fulfill their promise. I had loved and, like so many others, lost, leading to a division of zero assets and the temporary moniker of “defendant.” Once in a while I would actively consider parting with them, especially after my ex remarried two summers ago, pushing our unsuccessful union further into the zone of irretrievability. But I felt paralyzed by indecision. Pawning them seemed so crass. Better to keep them—out of sight, out of mind?—or, someday, do something meaningful and ceremonial like toss them over a waterfall, experiencing a cathartic sense of release.

In the end I sold them, today, to pay my energy bill. The transaction was held at a cardboard box-cluttered jewelry store in a strip mall in the suburbs. The buyer—a guy with the same first name as my ex-spouse, which seemed poetic—dropped them in a plastic Krewe of Rex cup intended for beer conveyance during Mardi Gras; weighed their slight physical presence; and wrote down an amount that almost covers one month of AC use in New Orleans. Goodbye…