by J Newton
I hunt frantically through the dusty box,
a mausoleum for once shiny things.
I find it in a tangle of broken glamour;
In my open hand, the ring;
a whispered ghost of gold and smoky quartz.
Throw it away
I shake my head.
It was a present from my mother.
I feel the salt scrape my throat
as I remember what it cost.
A winter wearing open-toed shoes.
Worry over rent and arthritic bones.
Choking back pride;
selling her wedding ring
to bring me this emblem
of unconditional love.
I hold it to my lips.
It is priceless.
SOURCE: “The Ring” was previously published in The Linnet’s Wings.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A ring similar to the one my mum bought for me when I turned 21.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The ring in question is real. The circumstances around the ring are also real. The ring was broken, along with other bits and pieces in the jewelry box. The stone was missing and it was a bit buckled and dull.We were having a bit of a clear out and I had all this old costume jewelry that I never wore. As we were sorting out what could stay and what could go, we came across the ring and my husband thought I should throw it away with the rest of the stuff. He didn’t realize the significance. My mum and dad split up when I was 10. My brother was 19 and took on as much responsibility as he could. We had no help or input from dad, so she had to manage on her own. To be honest, she managed brilliantly and I have memories of a wonderful childhood.When I was 21, my mum wanted to buy me something special. She sold her wedding ring and engagement ring for the cash to buy me my ring. I don’t think by then they held too much sentimental value for her but it must have been hard for her anyway. I found this out later when she confessed! My ring symbolized every little sacrifice she ever made for us. I always meant to get the stone replaced but I put it away instead. Unfortunately, the jewelry box was stolen when we were burgled and the ring with it. Luckily, my mum’s frugal days are over and she’s living it up on her pension now. We should never take for granted the personal sacrifices the ones we love make for us every day. Unfortunately, the actual ring was stolen in a burglary. I do hope Karma has a field day with the perpetrators!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J Newton is a 40-something Scottish lady who remembered how much she loved writing after a very long sabbatical. She has gone back to her first love of poetry and has had some pieces published. She is also an enthusiastic member of Write Words and spends most of her time in awe of the lovely people on there. She lives in Rochester, Kent, U.K., with her husband and her cat, Bagpuss. She is covered in scratches on a daily basis.