Dream last night: I'm in a grocery store and my first-ever boyfriend sees me and asks if he can put me down as a reference for a job he's trying to get as a school-teacher. His voice and the cadence of his speech is spot-on to real life. I notice in shock that he only has one arm - his right arm ends below a thin bicep. I don't ask how he lost an arm.
The book I'm reading this morning - Wild, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed (excellent so far) has a chapter called Box of Rain. And I remember that old phase of my life, when I knew all the words to a song like Box of Rain. When it seemed significant that the Allman Brothers had a song containing my name. When I wore long skirts and burned incense and dated the much-older hippy guy who thought so many things were beautiful and said so.
Yesterday the ring I've worn every day since 8th grade (minus a brief re-sizing at the jeweler) broke as I was doing laundry. The prongs caught and the garnet gemstone rocketed out and has not been found. It left an empty socket of a ring with only prongs. It looked like a weapon, or a sea creature. The ring was a gift from my grandmother who's been dead for many years. In eighth grade it was the nicest thing I'd ever been given, and I felt like a princess wearing a real gemstone.
I had feared the gemstone got displaced when I resized the ring and they persuaded me to buy a new stone. The old one was too scratched, they said. The new gem was a garnet like the old, but the ring looked different when I got it back. I had asked the jeweler to look at it again and make sure it was secure, and she told me it was. I knew it was not secure. I could have taken it in to get fixed but I never did. Do you want to know how absurd women's relationships with their bodies are? In the midst of a wave of terrible thoughts about The Ring Incident, I had a flash of self-hatred where I told myself that if my fingers and whole damn body hadn't gone and gotten so big and fat since eighth grade, I never would have had to change the ring and its stone would have been secure and I would still have it on my naked finger that I keep touching in distress that something's missing. I quickly reminded myself that it is absurd and sad to think that anyone would or should stay the same size they were in eighth grade. My right hand is smooth and strange to me.
Two more days at my current job, and then a whole new phase will click into motion like a new gear on a ten-speed bike. I kind of want to buy an opal and put it in the old prongs. Maybe it's time for something new.