Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ring Finger

It was a pretty ring. A soft pink ceramic with a rose engraved on its side. I found it at an estate sale of Mrs. Dr. Van Heiswald. She had been a petty women in life. Amassing the greatest collection of jewelry in the county. It was said she never wore the same outfit twice, and kept every single one stored in a hall of the mansion in which she lived. Her will had left strict instructions to burn the house to the ground and everything in it. But then again- when you die with and no one cares about you, they tend not to follow your wishes. It's not like the dead have any power. Right?

So I won the ring. The only item I could afford. I took it home. Showed it to my husband. He glanced up from the sport on TV to offer some perfunctory praise of my new ring. He may not have noticed, but I loved it. The rose was so beautiful. The pink so feminine. When I went to bed. I almost took it off. But it looked so nice there, on my pale skin.

In the morning my finger ached. My hands must have swollen from all the time in the sun. I took a couple of Advil and soon forgot the pain and went about my daily chores, more than once I found myself admiring the pretty ring on my stately finger. That night at dinner my husband finally noticed. He asked why my finger was so red. And if the ring was too small. What a horrible man. I work all day and all he does is make fun of the things that make of happy. I put my hand under the table and he turned on the TV.

As we prepared for bed he asked If I intended to sleep with the ring. That man! All he worries about is this ring. I left it on to spite him.

In my dreams i heard screams. The screams of horror. I awoke to find the screams coming from my own mouth. My husband was at my side in an instant. Examining the ring still on my finger. The skin was an ashen gray. He tried to remove the ring. My finger burned with pain. He tugged, I howled but to no avail. The ring was cutting into the bone. He put me in his arms and carried me to the car.

The emergency room was full. I sat in a daze. When the doctor finally saw me. I couldn't speak but whimpered . He grabbed my finger to examine. As his hand jerked my finger, the gray flesh separated from my hand. The break was clean, right at the ring. It fell to the floor. I looked at the shriveled finger formerly of my hand.

My pain was gone. My hand was free. There was no blood. I sprang into the arms of Mark and we hugged and hugged and hugged.

As we left the hospital that early morning, we passed crowds of others I remembered from the auction. I noticed Mr. Howard crumpled near a body under a sheet on a gurney. Sobbing I hugged Mark once more, grateful I hadn’t bought the matching necklace.