Missing – One Promise Ring

19 Feb

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t envision myself digging through the work bathroom garbage, but there I was, not even 11:00 A.M., a feeling of unease in my stomach. My beautiful promise ring was missing from my left pinky finger.

The ring, a Christmas gift from my boyfriend of nearly a year and a half, had been on my finger 24/7 since I opened it with the exception of exercising and showering.

Why on my pinky finger you ask – because it is just ever so slightly too small for my ring finger, which means it is also ever so slightly too big for my pinky. Over the last couple of months I’ve learned to keep my pinky and ring finger close together to hold my ring in place, and I check a hundred or so times a day to ensure it’s still there.

Today, however, I was distracted. I was putting together a giveaway bag of goodies for a third grader we were going to take a picture of that afternoon. Her class at school had designed their Valentine’s Day boxes after the major businesses in the town and there was an open house presentation. My boss thought it would be nice to take her something as a way to thanks for designing a great box! (And the box really was fantastic, looked very much like the hospital where we work.)

So there my boss and I were in our basement closet digging through boxes of giveaways, looking for anything that would remotely interest a third grade girl. We dug around, moving boxes of odds and ends out of our way until we found chapstick, a night light, pens, water bottle, first aid kid (don’t worry, I took out the antiseptic cream and only left the band-aids), note pads, and t-shirt. At one point, a box that was precariously balanced on top of three or four other boxes fell to the ground, scattering its contents everywhere. Thinking nothing of it, I stooped to clean up the mess, depositing the box, albeit a bit more securely, back on the stack. It was at this point we decided we had enough goodies to give the girl.

Feeling the dirt and grim on my hands from digging though countless boxes, I headed for the bathroom to clean my hands. There I was, scrubbing my hands, thinking of the conversation the boyfriend and I had had that morning, just smiling like a happy, in-love fool. It wasn’t until I threw away my paper towel that I noticed something was wrong.

My finger FELT lighter, more exposed. A sinking feeling wrapped itself around my heart. My ring was gone. My world stopped turning. My breathing came rapidly. Despair was sinking in. I was desperate to find my ring.

I’ve lost other things over the years, and yes those times were hard, but nothing compared to this pit in my stomach feeling. But losing my ring was different. He had given it to me. A symbol of how much he loved me and I had carelessly lost it. The  sentimental attachment I have with my ring can’t be replaced – it represents where and how we met, falling in love and overcoming the physical distance between us, hardship, obstacles and everything we’ve faced together and everything life has yet to throw at us.

I did the only thing I could think to do – normally a germaphobe, I reached into that bathroom trash bin with both hands. Praying my ring had slipped off while drying my hands, I opened every crinkled paper towel and laid it out on the floor. When at last the bin was empty, and my worst fear confirmed, no ring at the bottom, I scoped everything up and redeposited it in the bin. After washing my hands in double time, I check my pockets, maybe just maybe, as I took the stairs two at a time up to my office. Empty, as I expected them to be.

The giveaway bag. My ring HAS to be inside. I head for my boss’ office and with a heavy heart tell her my ring is missing. I search the bag, and it too comes up empty. I am near hysterics, it could be ANYWHERE, I’m not even sure when I last REMEMBER seeing it on my finger.

At my boss’ suggestion, we return to the basement closet to retrace our steps. Her optimism helps, it has to be here somewhere. We ended up taking every box I touched out to our conference table to thoroughly search. We decided it had to have fallen into a box because neither of us had heard it clank to the ground.

And she was right. At the bottom of the box where I had dug looking for pencils and chapsticks, I found my beautiful, silver ring hidden under some discarded papers. The rush of joy and thankfulness I felt at that precise moment can’t be expressed in words. For the remainder of the day, I looked at my left hand every five to ten minutes just to make sure my ring was in fact still on my finger, and that is where it currently still is, safe and sound.

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