She made this ring for me. Her tiny hands, for my own huge hands. She took me out to her old high school, with its old jewelry shop. She still knew all the teachers there. I was fascinated by the girl she used to be there.
She had a ring just like it. It was one of her projects. She made things, and I loved that about her. I was the first one she told about the real meaning of the ring.
The ring was called a lover's ring; two wires, tied in a square knot, and they were made of gold and used as wedding rings in Egypt.
I wore it for just under a year. In that year, I was amazed by the love I knew, and in how horrid I felt, trapped by the unyielding lifelessness of that dark city.
I surprised myself; somewhere, in the secret, still magic parts of my soul, I found the strength to keep the ring. Everything else ended up in the river that was the symbol of that choking, parasitic, place that nearly destroyed me.
I can't remember ever putting it on. But I remember taking it off; it would have been easier to take out my heart and seal it away. But I did. Perhaps I did both. I've never been sure.
It sat with my treasures for years. And then I knew just how wrong that was.
The ring is mine. I have never been truly given anything, without having to ask, without having to fight. But this was given. Not awarded, not purchased; given.
She is gone, faded away, like so many others left behind. But she loved me, and I loved her, and, despite all the blood that came after, this remains.
I realized that I should wear the ring, if nothing else to remind myself of what I too often forget; that I not only survived that place, but came away something greater. And even if only for a short time, I was well and truly loved.