What to do with a ring from an ex

For two years it’s sat in a box in my dresser drawer, hidden under a mound of lingerie I never use.

I remember the day I got it — the shock I felt when I opened the little box inside the big box inside the bigger box. I was guessing it was something like an iPod, since electronics were a lot more along this boyfriend’s lines of gift-giving and affection.

But there it was. A cushion cut center stone of a bright blue color. Six diamonds flanking the side. A white gold band that was neither flimsy nor uncomfortably large on my small hands. He even got a friend of mine to get me to disclose my ring size so he could have it cut down appropriately.

It really was the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen. Its size, sparkle, and unique color caught a lot of eyes. The girls gushed accordingly, and the guys knew to stay away. There were times that I saw my boyfriend glimpse at it and smile, knowing that wearing it 24/7 — whether sleeping, making my way through everyday errands, or running all sweaty along the lakefront path — was a reminder that he was part of my life.

I had never gotten jewelry before. I’m not really a sentimental person either, so I was surprised by how gushy-girly I was about it. I’d look at it, think of him, and smile. This outward showing made my inner love all warm and fluttery.

About a year later, he came over and muttered something about not being able to do it anymore. Shocked, I gathered the few things of his that were at my house, handed them to him, and opened the door for him to leave. There was no drama and very little said, but he really caught me off guard. When you know a punch is coming, you can plan accordingly. Instead, I had just made us dinner and had some cookies ready to go in the oven.

I threw away the dinner and cookie dough, sat down on my couch, and lethargically watched back-to-back episodes of Law and Order. And then I noticed the ring. Like ripping off a Band-Aid, I didn’t hesitate in taking it off, putting it in its box, and stuffing that box in the drawer.

In the days later I noticed my thumb instinctively reaching to touch its band. I broke that habit. Opening the cabinets under the sink, there were the pipe cleaners I used with a little Windex to clean the gunk out from under it each week. I threw them away. That was that.

And then a couple weeks ago, as I was cleaning out my drawers (namely throwing out lingerie that I know I’m never going to wear), I came across the box with the silver bow. Opening that box, you never know what your reaction will be. Emotions have this way of sneaking up on you, demanding to be reckoned with, and forcing some sort of reaction. However, that was not the case here.

The big blue stone shined at me, but it’s since lost its luster. What it stood for has been gone longer than we were even together. Without the cloud of him attached to it, the ring was no longer the prettiest I’ve ever seen.

It was then that I decided that it needed to go.

I asked a couple friends about what they’d done with their rings from boyfriends passed. Tossed it in the woods. Pawned it. Let it sit in a drawer at their parents’ home.

But something with all of these didn’t seem right. This wasn’t how my ring — something I previously took so much pride in wearing — was going to go out. Someone else needed to enjoy it. I knew that it wouldn’t be in the same capacity as I had, but it wasn’t going to get caked with years of mud in Lincoln Park, garner me more than a night out, or be accessible on a holiday visit.

The only true answer was to give it away.

All day yesterday I carried the box with me. I imagined myself walking up to someone who looked like she was having a shit day, wishing her a Happy Valentine’s Day, handing her the box, and walking off before she could say something. But working from home, I saw no one. Having a late lunch, there were so few people walking in the Loop. I carried it to the gym, and I decided that giving a girl a ring while she’s half-naked in the locker room would make me creepy. So off to dinner it went.

Along Broadway, a woman walking toward me was having a hard time getting her grocery cart up the sidewalk’s ramp. A likely candidate! With her wheel caught in a crack, I went to help lift the front end as she pushed. I said, “Hey, let me give you a hand,” as I approached. By her reaction, you would have thought I was brandishing a machete to steal her Cocoa Puffs. Talk about a disqualification!

Being in Boystown for dinner, there really weren’t many choices of women. I was beginning to think that the ring would be coming home with me to once again be stuffed in the drawer.

But then a chance mention was made, the time and place was definitely in the present, and Miss Foxy now has herself a pinky ring.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Miss Foxy. I know you’ll properly appreciate the ring’s shininess.



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