I was coming downstairs from Billy and Brenda's on the way to my car. Sandi, after hearing of Brenda's daughter Maggie having morning sickness now that she's pregnant, had looked up some remedies/suggestions online and printed up a copy so I could bring them to Maggie. While there, I picked up the condiments I had brought for the pot luck dinner we had last Sunday, which were in the annex behind Billy and Brenda's apartment. There were some people staying in the annex from Chicago who worked in ministry with gay communits and were paying the Quarter a visit, so we had to sneak into the kitchen to get the mayonnaise. Billy was cooking some steaks and I was on my way to making some chicken salad when I got home.

And that's when I noticed it was gone. An empty circle where the polished garnet had been, on my left ring finger. It was the only ring I've worn on that traditional wedding band hand for as long as I can remember. It was one of three rings I had bought from Angie, Brenda's daughter-in-law who now refuses to speak to any of us and whose divisive nature has pretty much torn apart a family and a church.

Angie now runs the store where I bought the rings from her when she was a cashier there, and she now drives my old car that I had sold her and her husband Zack last October. I see him zooming by in it now and then and can't help but feel anger and grief, because now that he doesn't speak to his own parents in an effort to side with his wife, Brenda can't bring herself to keep Zack and Angie's wedding pictures up in the living room. I want to claw Angie's eyes out someimes, but all I can find strength to do is pray.

Now there is a tanline that finds no comfort in being covered. I wear only silver rings and it took me so long to find any rings that I really liked that weren't one of dozens in a black felt box in the mall that I wonder where I may find a suitable replacement. The stone is gone forever. This second loss of a garnet is harder for me than the first time I lost a stone that meant so much because, with it went so many good times and beloved memories, now stained with pain.

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