The Opal.

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.”

“Amber, I…”

“Come on!”

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?”

He smiled.

“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.

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35 Comments on The Opal.

  1. Meagan
    May 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm (4 years ago)

    Aw! Is there any chance of having the stones reset? Or made into a new piece?

  2. Venus
    May 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm (4 years ago)

    What a lovely memory — you made me feel like I was there. Thanks for sharing! Also, while I’m sad about the ring breaking, I’m so happy that your relationship is intact and going strong. :-)

  3. kgwaite
    June 5, 2012 at 10:37 am (4 years ago)

    Beautiful post and lovely sentiments. I really enjoyed reading this one.

  4. Cat Poland
    June 5, 2012 at 10:38 am (4 years ago)

    This was stunning. I felt as though I’d been there, even though I’d never been there. You have a gift!

  5. erin margolin
    June 5, 2012 at 11:23 am (4 years ago)

    Stunning imagery, it was like I was right there with you two…
    and I agree w/ commenter above—can you salvage some of the ring and either do something else with the stones or have it reset?

    visiting from yeah write.

  6. Delilah
    June 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm (4 years ago)

    Beautiful. I recognize myself in some of your words.

  7. jamie
    June 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm (4 years ago)

    Poo. Certainly an unexpected twist to your wonderfully written story. I’m so glad things are better and hope you can get that ring fixed.

  8. justkeepinitrealfolks
    June 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm (4 years ago)

    What a sweet story and you certainly have your priorities straight. Twenty six years ago I got engaged when my husband was a poor medical student and we were living in a trailer. The ring cost less than $400, but it was all we could afford. Despite people making fun of that ring, I wore it proudly for over 20 years until the stone fell out. It symbolized our love and the size never mattered to me.

  9. Carrie
    June 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm (4 years ago)

    What a great love story. I’m glad to hear you guys are still going strong. And your right – it’s not about the ring, it’s about the love it represents!

  10. Mayor Gia
    June 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm (4 years ago)

    What a sweet memory! I’m sorry your ring broke, though. :(

  11. thedoseofreality
    June 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Beautiful post. I loved everything about it.

  12. Robbie
    June 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Every day a new beginning–so well said. Sorry about your ring.

  13. Vanessa
    June 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm (4 years ago)

    I like the way you end this – I choose to love.

    June 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm (4 years ago)

    I like this a lot. With so many marriages that break up when things get tough, it’s refreshing to see two people who overcome obstacles and emerge stronger on the other side. Very well written.

  15. Kerry
    June 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm (4 years ago)

    So cute! I’m so glad everything worked out for you and your lovely relationship is stronger than ever. =)

  16. Jamie
    June 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm (4 years ago)

    love that the tangible is no longer necessary. I’m just up the road – if you’re still in Cincy. I hope it’s been everything you two wished it would be!

  17. Kerstin
    June 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm (4 years ago)

    Love the part where you let your guard down – I could feel the tension in the air.
    Beautifully told!

  18. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
    June 6, 2012 at 6:36 am (4 years ago)

    This is such a taut little piece about a ring, yes, but so much more. The dialogue, the careful description, the sweet but never treacly feel—some fine writing!! Erin

    • Amber
      June 8, 2012 at 10:41 am (4 years ago)

      “”Treacly!” I love that word. Especially when it’s something I’m not doing. Thank you very much!

  19. Tricia
    June 6, 2012 at 7:04 am (4 years ago)

    This is so beautifully told!

  20. Sperk*
    June 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm (4 years ago)

    So beautifully written. I wonder if your ring had not “died”, would this telling of the story have come about? For that reason, I’m grateful for the ring mishap…because I loved reading this. You are right that love endures…It’s a hopeful post. And I love walking around that part of the river 😉

    • Amber
      June 8, 2012 at 10:44 am (4 years ago)

      It probably wouldn’t have. So I guess it is a good thing! I loved the Levee…we’ve since moved on, but that’s a beautiful place.

  21. Jennifer - Treading Water in the Kiddie Pool
    June 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm (4 years ago)

    I love love love this story. So sweet and you wrote it so well.

  22. Amanda
    June 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm (4 years ago)

    Love this. To second changes and love!

    • Amber
      June 8, 2012 at 10:43 am (4 years ago)

      Hear hear! Thanks so much!

  23. tara pohlkotte
    June 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm (4 years ago)

    loved the writing. loved the story of the ring. loved your love spilled out in words.

    • Amber
      June 8, 2012 at 10:43 am (4 years ago)

      Awww, thanks!

  24. Michelle Longo
    June 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm (4 years ago)

    Such a nice sentiment – both in the ring and in the post.

  25. TriGirl
    June 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm (4 years ago)

    Nicely written–not fancy but so real! I’m glad your love has outlived your ring :)

    • Amber
      June 8, 2012 at 10:42 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks! I try not to get to fancy pants with my writing. Although every once in a while it’s nice to let loose.

  26. jamieywrites
    June 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm (4 years ago)

    What a sweet post, Amber! I absolutely love it when you said: everyday you choose to love.

    • Amber
      June 8, 2012 at 10:42 am (4 years ago)

      Some days I have to remind myself of that more often than others…. 😉


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