He came bearing three rings. And then asked which one I liked. All had diamonds but surprisingly, I was most drawn to the sculptured platinum one with two even rows of sparkle. It was more modern than the others which were made of gold. Those were both solitaires - like traditional engagement rings. Been there. Done that.
Then he slipped it on my finger and the inner ring guard helped to make it perfectly snug. He told me it belonged to his mother along with the other two, but I had already guessed that. My new ring was more contemporary in style and I believe, more special because it was bought later in his parent's marriage, long after their hungry years had passed. By then, they were older and wiser and the ring reflects that maturity, much like our own late-bloomer love. I was so proud to accept it and even prouder to wear it.
I never met his parents but I know them by heart. I regularly pick his brain for errant memories but I think he has told me everything now. Only occasionally will I oust a new story from him, like last week when he told me that after a certain number of anniversaries, his mother wryly stated that "marriage should be a contract, renewable at ten year intervals and only if mutually agreed upon by both parties". I already liked the original owner of my new ring, but now I loved her too.
The marriage lasted 63 years so they must have done something right. They raised two whole and lovely men - practical like their mother and benevolent like their father. At times, I looked for cracks in his stories, searching for dysfunction or unkindness. But they were as stable and nice as roast on Sunday and chicken pot pie on Monday. They were truly, a beautiful family...
And now, lucky me, I wear her ring - a woman I know only from memories and fuzzy snapshots. But I do know her one other way too. I know her every time he holds me in his strong yet gentle arms. That's when, over his shoulder, I steal a glance at my left hand. It's where her ring resides now and sparkles best.