The morning started ordinarily enough.
“It’s morning, mommy!” a far too cheerful voice shouted by my ear. ”It’s morning! It’s morning! It’s morning!”
It would have been cuter, had I not just hauled her back to her bed (for the third time) at 4:30 a.m.
Nevertheless, I scooped her up onto the bed, praying halfheartedly that she’d go back to sleep.
“Are you sure it’s morning? I don’t think the sun’s up yet.”
“Yep. I want to go downstairs!”
Rolling over sleepily, Brian peered at her through one blue eye and said, “why don’t you go downstairs by yourself? Mommy’s tired.”
“Noooooooooooooooo! I want mommy,” she insisted, tugging my eyelids open.
“Alright, alright. I’m up.” Blearily, I stumbled out of bed and down the stairs, grunting in response to her endless chatter.
I let the dog out. Turned the coffee pot on. Made her a piece of toast.
You know, standard fare.
I took a sip from my cup of coffee. And then a second. And then a third. Finally, my eyes opened all the way.
I glanced down at my left hand. Then away. Then, in response to the alarm ringing dimly at the back of my skull, I looked back.
An empty hole glared back at me from the center of my engagement ring. The diamond was gone!
I let out a quiet scream of alarm.
“Are you okay mommy?” Tori asked, her brow furrowed.
“I…yes. No. Do you see anything sparkly on the floor?”
This last was said as I dove down to my hands and knees, begging my still-exhausted eyes to see clearly.
Together, we inched across the kitchen floor. But there was nothing there.
I checked the bathroom. Looked in the kitty food container. Shook out the blanket on the couch where I’d spent a couple of hours in the middle of the night.
Charging upstairs, I started tearing the bed apart.
“What’s wrong?” Brian asked, sitting up quickly as he shook sleep from his eyes.
“My diamond. It’s gone. Look!” I said, thrusting my hand in his face.
“Oh. Well, I’m sure it’s somewehere…”
Together we looked in all the likeliest places. But nothing turned up. As time passed, my heart sank lower and lower.
I cleaned the whole damn house yesterday. It could be in any number of trash bags, or down any number of drains.
It might just be…gone.
Brian has tried to make me feel better. He’s told me we can just get a new diamond…or even a new ring. He’s said he could even propose in the mall again. That we could renew our vows.
But that’s not the point.
That little diamond was a symbol of hope. An artifact leftover from the time when I was 22, completely naive, and unsure of anything except that I wanted to marry the man who gave it to me.
I intended to wear it to my grave.
It’s just a ring. Just a piece of metal and stone. But it carried a piece of my heart within it.
Nothing could ever replace it.
And so, tonight, I grieve.