I typically do not wear jewelry, as I never understood the appeal of wrapping your arms or neck or ears with various metal or plastic baubles. Once or twice in the past, I might’ve tried out a necklace or bracelet or two, but inevitably, I’d find them bothersome, and leave them behind.
I think part of my dislike of jewelry comes from a love-hate relationship with jewelry stores. I admire the artistic quality of jewelry a lot, quite a lot, and if I get the chance, I can gaze upon jewelry displays for hours. (I have not timed myself.) Yet, once I step foot inside one, I always feel like an intruder in an extremely organized space.
I say all that, yet you will occasionally (actually, probably more than occasionally) find me wearing this particular ring on my right middle finger. This ring is the only jewelry I own, and it isn’t even particularly impressive. It sits heavily and awkwardly upon my hand, yet I still find myself slipping it onto my finger when I wake up in the morning.
I wear it not out of habit; I got it only months ago. I wish I could tell you that it meant something special, that I’d examined it (and other rings) carefully before deciding to buy it, but there really isn’t anything special about it. It’s a cheap little thing, a simple, dark metal band I found in some thrift shop for $10 while on vacation.
I bought it in the summer, when it really was far too hot and humid outside. My sister, who loved shopping, was flitting from little store to little store, and I was more or less just dragged along. They were little market stalls, colorful and very crowded. Perhaps my brain had completely clouded over from the heat, the noise, the people, but I saw that there was a box of rings on display.
A black ring upon the right middle finger. In some circles, that means something. A symbol for a particular kind of identity, I suppose. On a whim, I decided that I should get a ring for that purpose.
A few days later, I met one of my close friends from high school. Actually, ‘met’ probably isn’t the right term, as we lived in different states by now, and only saw each other through video chat. But, as one of my habits was to bring my right hand up to my face when thinking, she managed to catch sight of the ring.
She is one of the people who knew what the ring meant. “Why didn’t you get one for me?” she asked, in a tone I was certain was not entirely serious.
A little too seriously, I said, “I don’t know your ring size.”
I still don’t. To be honest, I don’t even know my own ring size.
If I had, I probably would’ve gotten her one.