subject line: second-hand

 

washington

I bought my car used almost a year ago. For months now, every time I turn a corner, something rattles and rolls around in the pocket of the passenger door. I don’t know why, but I didn’t check to see what it was until a few weeks ago. I was expecting, I don’t know, a button? Maybe a marble or a stray lip balm?

I wasn’t expecting an engagement ring. It was dirty, from months of the grime and dust that dresses forgotten things. I polished it off. It was pretty. It sparkled in the fading evening light. I never really cared about rings all that much. I never saw the point in dreaming about what kind of ring I wanted when I’d never known someone I could envision giving me that ring. Bigger fish to fry, y’know?

I put the sparkling diamond on my ring finger. It fit like it was meant for me. For a moment, I allowed myself to pretend it was, rolling my hand around like I was showing it off, checking out all the angles. I even took a snapchat picture and sent it to a few friends. It was weird, the way this ring made me feel. I’m at the stage in life where it seems everyone I know is getting engaged and married, and for some reason I’m the one who got left behind. For a moment, I wasn’t. This ring held some odd power that made it hard to take off. Like I was facing my true desires for the first time. Lord-of-the-Rings-esque. If I had a ring on my left hand, it meant I was precious to someone, right? Oh, how we all long to be seen as precious.

But the feeling was fake. I took the ring off, but not without the panic that often comes when you try on someone else’s ring and have a hard time taking it off. This ring was not mine. This feeling was not mine. I had no ring, no fiancé, and no one promising to love me til death do us part. It was all fake.

And as it turns out, the ring was fake, too. I have no idea whose it was or why it was in my car or why anyone even has a fake engagement ring to begin with. All I know is it left me feeling more lonely than I was before I found it.