Today is M’s and my 8th wedding anniversary. We’d been together a long time before we tied the knot, and I always think of this ring above as symbolic.
The story: in my early twenties when I was living in Japan, I was flipping through a magazine when I saw a Tiffany’s ad and stopped mid-flip. As you know, I’m not a jewelry person. I have weird allergic reactions to most metals and though I love beads and baubles, I don’t think I’m very good at accessorizing so I’ve never really tried.
In the ad, I saw a simple, beautiful ring. A rounded band evenly studded with small diamonds all around — so elegant, so understated, so classic yet modern. I knew that if I ever got married (I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time and marriage wasn’t on my radar), this was my ring. Now, as luck would have it, my uncle is a jewelry designer. He lived about three hours from my little city where I was teaching English to Japanese high school students, and when I went for a visit over some school break, I mentioned The Ring. “Oh, that’s easy! I can make that for you!” he volunteered. We descended into his studio where I accidentally kicked pearls and rubies and countless precious gems because my uncle is not a neat freak. He showed me a few diamond samples (some of which I had stepped on) and told me to wait a couple of weeks.
Like clockwork, I received a package two weeks later. “Huh,” I thought. It was decidedly gold, though the one in the ad was platinum. I had expected silver, despite the probability that my finger would have turned purple. Also, it wasn’t symmetrical all around and the diamonds clustered mostly in the front. Clearly, my descriptive skills in Japanese were lacking and what I held in my hand wasn’t my dream ring. But it was beautiful and I was grateful for his generosity, and I wore it for many years even though the ring was a little too big and I still wasn’t a jewelry person.
A few years later, I would meet M at a San Francisco coffee shop, and eventually we shacked up. I had never, ever told any of my boyfriends about The Ring until M. Which was silly because I had, quite frankly, given up on marriage. There is a whole saga associated with it, but M was convinced that he wasn’t the marrying type, and though it was hard at first, I accepted that. I knew that we were good together and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else and what was a marriage license but a piece of paper after all?
We were like an old married couple anyway. I was doing laundry one day, and went through his pants pockets because he always stuffed them with candy wrappers and change. As I cleared the detritus, a wadded bit of paper caught my eye. “Tiffany & Co.” it read. I shakily uncrumpled it, and nearly had a heart attack. It was a receipt for a ring. The Ring. As I sat in the walk-in closet surrounded by dirty laundry and sticky Snickers wrappers, I had a moment of tearful, stunned joy. It seems, I’m sure, unromantic, but a trip to Paris would have been nothing compared to the elation of clutching that receipt in my hand.
I didn’t say a word, and it took him a couple of weeks to work up the courage to ask me. It was sweet and emotional and everything I wanted in a proposal. I thought I wouldn’t be surprised, but I was. Once I had accepted, I told him about finding the receipt, and we had a good long laugh over that one. That was in February 2005 and we got married seven months later, adding that slim band with just a singular, minuscule diamond.
And now it’s been eight years. I wouldn’t call them easy years, but they have been filled to bursting with lessons and love and mostly a lot of laughter. He makes me double over with belly-aching guffaws and I still can’t imagine being with anyone else.
Happy Anniversary, honey, you were wrong; you’re the marrying type after all.