It was a chilly late October evening. My husband and I were wandering around Newport on the Levee in Cincinnati, awkward together after a month apart.
He looked at me with a question in his eyes, unsure of how to begin.
Wary of the intensity in his expression, I turned away.
“God, I’m hungry,” I said, picking at the sleeve of my beloved pink gingham coat.
“Well, they said it’d be an hour. That means we have 45 minutes left.”
I collapsed heavily on to a bench, the metal bars shockingly cold against the back of my thighs.
“That sucks. I might faint from hunger by then,” I sighed.
“Well, we could always go somewhere else.”
Blowing my bangs off my forehead, I shook my head. “Nah, the wait will be just as long no matter where we go. I’m doomed to starve to death.”
He snorted. “Yes, starve to death. I’m sure there’s a real possibility of that.”
He scooched over and started to put his arm around me. I shot up off the bench and headed for the river.
“Let’s walk. It will make the time go faster.”
Sighing, he trailed after me.
I reached the railing and draped myself over it, staring down at the lights sparkling on the water. He stood silently next to me.
“I think we’re going to like it here,” I blurted to fill the quiet. “Did I tell you about the cool little park I found?”
“I’m sure we will, once we get settled.”
He hesitated, and the intensity returned to his eyes.
“I’m really glad we’re doing this,” he said. “It’s good to be doing something new together.”
Letting down my guard, I scooted in close so he could put his arm around me.
“It’ll be great. Just us. No one to interfere…”
He turned to face me.
“I wanted this to be more romantic, but…here.” And he thrust a small velvet box into my hand.
“Is this another ghost ring?” I laughed.
“Just open it.”
I did, and an opal ring winked back at me, sparkling from its white satin bed.
“It’s gorgeous,” I said. And I meant it.
“It’s not much, but, well, I wanted you to have a new ring. After…everything…I thought you needed a new one.”
Gently, he took the ring from its box and placed it on my right hand.
I stared down at my hand for a moment, unable to speak past the lump in my throat. Finally, I looked up.
“Thank you,” I said. “It’s perfect.”
And it was. I wore it faithfully for the next eight and a half years. Every time I looked at it, I was reminded of that new beginning, and of the love that wonderful man never stopped giving to me.
Today, the ring died.
Two of the stones popped out, and the jagged tines left over keep leaving deep scratches on my skin.
It was just a little ring. Nothing like the three carat diamonds some of my friends haul around.
But I will miss it, all the same.
It’s not every day you get a second chance.
Fortunately, the love it symbolized is still going strong. And it needs no ring to stay true.
Every day is a new beginning. Every day we make choices. Every day, I choose to love.