Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Fifteen years ago, in Dallas, I approached a well-respected tattoo artist about a wedding ring of ink. He shrugged, said he didn't tattoo fingers because of their constant exposure to the elements. He went on to say: most people don't get the touch-ups finger tattoos require, and their faded ink reflects poorly upon the artists.
I'm sure I could've found someone to tattoo my finger but didn't pursue it further, and thank goodness, because the marriage ended. My ex-husband's band felt heavy in every sense; I wore it infrequently while we were married, and (no surprise) never, after. It brought a pretty penny when I sold it, a few years ago, for gold.
These days, I wear my wedding ring like I wear my flip-flops, which is to say: I slip it off when I'm in the house. This means nothing except that I prefer bare fingers for washing dishes and children, for preparing food, for sleeping.
As a matter of respect, I try to remember to slide that ring back on before leaving the house, but I wear jewelry best, it seems, when I can forget it's there. I prefer necklaces, and--over the course of my lifetime--there have been a long line of them.
I think of the one my mom gave me from my infant brother: candy-looking hearts on a chain, from Avon.
My dad presented a slightly older me with a gold heart, an opal heart nestled inside it. "I keep your heart inside my heart," he said. After I'd grown, he replaced that necklace with the heart of white gold I wore on my (second) wedding day.
While my beloved and I honeymooned on St. John, he bought me a silver book on a chain. The pages inside, engraved by Kathy Bransfield, bear the last stanza of William Ernest Henley's "Invictus." We hear the tapping of those silver pages and return to a hotel room by the Caribbean Sea.
I have two necklaces that celebrate my children on earth, and the one I wear, typing this, memorializes my child in heaven.
I write in necklace places and feel lighter: like I'm wearing a necklace and not a millstone. I scatter and scratch and spill and vomit words on pages and know: I will not drown, today. I have said everything I need to say.
**Sharing with Amber, Emily, and their communities.