A year had passed since my divorce, but I was still walking around wearing my wedding ring.
It wasn't because I was sentimental or hoped for a reunion. In fact, the ring had been bought at a going-out-of-business sale, which should have been a clue as to how things were going to turn out. But one morning, it happened: I was out for a walk, having one of those imaginary fights with my ex -- the kind that takes place in your head when you're giving him hell for that stupid thing he did in 1985. With very little persuasion, the ring flew off my finger and landed in a field of cows. Unlike the bovines, who appeared unmoved by this gesture, I felt liberated.
It turned out, however, that giving my ring finger breathing room unleashed 20 years of pent-up energy. All of a sudden, every man alive or nearly dead became a prospect -- at least to my newly naked finger. At intersections, when a guy pulled up beside me, I'd give him the ring finger and smile before the light turned green. When that man would wave, nod hello or say, "Ma'am, could you please roll down your window and show me your driver's license," my left hand would sprawl across my cheek, showing off its little tan line.
When my accountant called to say it was tax season, I thought he said sex season. He does have a lisp, but my ring was freaking me out.
My friends said I was being ridiculous -- a piece of jewellery did not have that kind of power. Obviously they'd never seen The Lord of the Rings.
I realized throwing away my ring was like putting my house up for sale. Everybody who drove by was a potential purchaser, and it was a lot of work keeping my lawn cut and the bonsai bush trimmed. Let's face it, I'm lived in. I didn't want to keep everything fluffed and spotless all the time, and even if I could land a prospective buyer, knowing my luck, I'd end up with a loser who'd track mud through my "house."
The last time I was single, I was a 25-year-old, but my friends assured me this time around I would make good choices.
After several lapses in judgment (I kept going for renters, not buyers, if you know what I mean), the ring finger settled down. I realized my problem was that I thought my house was up for sale. But it wasn't, really. I was just in the process of cleaning out the closets, seeing what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to throw out.
When I am ready to entertain an offer, I'll be the one controlling the lock box.
(To listen this being read by Deborah :click here.