I don't wear any jewelry, so I guess I've never really had a first ring.

The first (and, so far only) time I gave a girl a ring I was fourteen and in love (at least in love as a fourteen-year-old boy could understand it, which, in retrospect, wasn't very well.) She wasn't the first girl I ever went out with, but she was the first girl I ever went out with who didn't make me feel awkward and nervous. It was a cheap ring, 14k gold plated with a little chip of a sparkley rock on the top. My mom drove me down to Best so I could pick it out; she thought that it was darling, my dad thought it was a waste of money, but he knew better than to try and stop me. I don't remember exactly how much the ring cost, but it was a couple of weeks of mowing lawns and washing the car, at least. I spent most of that evening looking at the ring in its little velvet box, rehearsing what I was going to say. Eventually I had to lock the door beacuse my little sister kept on coming in every thirty minutes to make fun of me.

The next day at school, I found her before class. I pulled her a little ways away from her friends and launched into the first couple of words of my speech, then faltered. The words which seemed to eloquent to me when I said them in front of the mirror the night before just wouldn't come out. I stammered for a couple of seconds (although it felt like hours), and finally just pulled the ring out of my backpack and muttered, "I'd like you to have this." I groaned on the inside because I thought that that was about the lamest thing I could possibly say, but it was enough.

Her eyes lit up and her face broke into a bright, sunny smile and she threw her arms around me (don't ever let anyone tell you that a fourteen-year-old girl isn't strong) and she kissed me on the cheek.

And suddenly I was the happiest boy in the world.

Of course it didn't last. Young love so rarely does, I suppose. There was no big break up or explosion. Just the slow realization that we were moving in different directions. I think she knew a lot sooner than I did (of course :) Later on we went to the same college; but it was a school with 40,000 undergraduates and I never saw her. I have no idea where she is today.

The "first ring" is also the the time in which I usually answer the phone since it's about two feet away from my head as I sleep. I really ought to move it to another room. It's not like I get very many interesting phone calls, but there's always Hope.

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