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Devoid of Doubt
My forehead knitting into a wrinkled blanket, I gingerly pick up the unpretentious ring. Its humbleness surprises me; obviously the owner was no typical sovereign bride. If I hadn’t known it was a wedding ring, forecasting a promise to a soul through a small, dainty band of silver, the thought would have never spanned my mind. Turning it over in my calloused hands, the strangest inscription meets my eyes: “Never More”. Confusion sweeping my mind, I carefully slip the ring onto the finger it was destined for.
Quick flashes cascade down, filling my brain with an almost ugly determinacy. A faded veil, a shotgun wedding, the name “Lydia”. Lips set in a melancholy grimace, tanned summer skin, a gnarled oak tree. My mind attempts to shield itself, and before I realize it, the ring is off my finger. Massaging my temples, I stare into oblivion, holding the band in my hand with an almost distasteful air. A sudden thought enters my head without voluntary consciousness; buy it. Taking the ring up to the counter, I force a smile unto my face. The cashier grins at me merrily.
“Now, what have you found here? I’ve never seen this little dandy ring before. Quite interesting. Twenty bucks?” He inquires. I nod, forking over the cash before he can realize the magic of the small, common, usually inoffensive object. He wraps the ring in tissue paper, handing it to me without much thought. Thanking him, I walk out of the store, my brain clouded as the overcast spring sky.
Legs trembling, I walk in quick staccato bursts, my small heels tapping against the asphalt. I head for my old, corroded car, unlocking it from a distance. When I finally reach it, I tug at the door, fighting its rusted resistance until it gives in. My shaking hands turn the keys into the ignition, and my fingers tap anxiously against the wheel until the car rumbles to life.
I pull out of the pocket-sized parking lot, wondering why I am so nervous. Sure, what had happened had me bewildered to say the least, but why did I feel so edgy? I knew, I could feel, through a knot in my stomach, that the wedding ring held supremacy in a way objects usually could not.
Trying to keep my mind off of unsettling actions, I quietly sing an old song to myself, my voice trembling ever so slightly as I try a higher octave. My voice echoes peacefully in the summer air, my words weaving through the clouds as well as my mind. Smiling, I take a right, my car rumbling upon the thick gravel road.
After a few miles, I pull up to my home, my car wheezing to an unsettling stop; as well as my voice. I carefully pick up the small package and feel the weight of the world resting in my hand, my existence. Taking a deep breath, I exit the car, and walk to the front door. Pulling out my faded silver key, I unlock the door, stepping into my quaint house. The thick scent of my favorite vanilla incense fills my head, relaxing me marginally. I sit down at my scattered table, taking the ring out of the petite bag. I again look at it, but more loosely, reading again the inscription with inquisitiveness. The ring seems old, but not ancient, and the wornness of the band suggests years or use. Filling my lungs with air, I warily slip the ring back unto my hand.
More images. A small backyard, looked at through the space between shabby, flowered curtains. In the tiny terrace, a young woman stands in a lace wedding dress, below an oak tree. A man steps forward, the sheer blondness of his hair surprising. He coaxes her head up, and she smiles at him. I feel years pass. Nights spent alone. Lydia, the woman’s name. No children, after a miscarriage shortly after her marriage. The man becomes distant, and emotionally on the verge of depression. She spends many nights crying below the old tree, the dark of night only influencing the desolation. More years. The woman feels her wedding ring, rolling it around on her now thin finger. She was going blind. The man, though he had been aloof, comes back into her life. He gets the ring engraved; never again will he leave her the way he did. She cries, her blank eyes unfocused. She takes his face in her hands, kissing him with a small smile on her lips. Other years pass. They grow old together, wrinkles in the face of time, in love again with each other and the world. Eventually, two graves, side by side, together in all eternity. A vague sense of hope and peace hangs over the graves, more content than sorrowful.
My eyes quickly slide open, releasing a rush of tears. Feeling as if I knew the couple personally, their love and loss affects me deeply. I slid the ring off my finger, setting it on the table. My anxiousness was long gone now, filled only with joy.
My smile so pronounced it’s almost audible, I sigh with bliss. I had always thought that love was few and far between, and always ended the way it had throughout my life. The couple had filled my heart with love, courage, and faith, and rid it of fear and grief.
But most of all, my heart was devoid of doubt.