Karen Galatz
Journalist, Columnist, Blogger

My hopeless diamond. A ring, a lie, a sweet reward

credit: commons.wikimedia.org
credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Sometimes, not often, bad behavior is rewarded with sweetness. This is my story of a lost ring, a lie and, one such sweet reward.

After his mother died, my husband gifted me with her beautiful engagement ring.

I already had a stunner of an engagement ring. In fact, I was blessed with two engagement rings. One from my father and one from my mother.

Each ring comes with a back story, because often objects, like people, have histories.

The First Bling Backstory

My first “engagement” ring, from my father, was a gambler’s bounty. Big Julie, as my father was known, had hit it big one night at the craps table. And when gamblers win (which happens on rare occasions), they rush to buy jewelry at conveniently located casino jewelry shops, to shed their cash winnings before they’re tempted to run back and continue their “lucky streak.”

Flush with his gambler’s glory, my father returned to our Las Vegas home and presented a shiny engagement ring to my mother, who was staring at a stack of unpaid bills.

“Why an engagement ring?” she queried. “I’ve already got a beautiful ring. Please take this one to a pawnbroker. We need the money.”

“It’s beautiful,” my father proudly protested. “Wear it on your other hand. I’m not selling it. Give it to Karen. She doesn’t have a diamond ring.”

“Give it to our 12-year-old daughter?” she asked incredulously. “I don’t think so.”

Back and forth the debate went with much pointing to the bills on the kitchen table.

Finally, my mother agreed to put the ring in a safe deposit box, with the promise to give it to my future fiancé. And that is what she did twenty years later when she handed the ring to my soon-to-be spouse – for him to hand to me.

Bling Two Backstory

Years later, when my mother died, I – as the only daughter – received her engagement ring, the one my father had bought her decades before. My husband joked that our kids were set. With two diamond rings in the family, no engagement – or inheritance – battles loomed.

Hubby’s Ring Bling

My husband’s mother’s ring was found in a Reno hotel trash can by a friend who worked as a janitor. How he saw the ring in the trash was a wonder in and of itself. Short on cash, he asked Jon’s mother and father if they wanted to buy it. It was a stunning piece of jewelry. What anger or heartbreak led someone to throw it away?

When my husband’s mother passed, he lovingly presented me with the ring she wore with such pride for so many years.

Like Parents, Like Daughter

Like my mother, I pointed out I already had an engagement ring – two, in fact.

Like my father, my husband suggested I wear all these rings – on alternate hands – on multiple fingers – on alternating days!

Now, ironically, I’m not that big a fan of diamonds. They’re cold-looking, like ice. They’re expensive. Wear them and you worry someone will bop you on the head to grab them. Plus, there’s the worry somebody will break into your home and steal them.

The Lie

And it’s that last fear that led to my lie. Fearful of break-ins, I rented a bank safe deposit box and only took out jewelry for special occasions.

If the special occasion fell on a Saturday night, I would hide the bling “somewhere” in the house, until I could get to the bank on Monday or Tuesday or …

One time, I hid Jon’s mother’s ring and then couldn’t remember where. I searched all my usual hiding places — and all my un-unusual hiding places. I tore my closet apart. I tore cabinets apart. And I tore my hair apart. I searched for four years and I STILL haven’t found the ring.

During all that searching, I never told my husband. In fact, I did the opposite. For the first and only time in our marriage, I lied to him.

One week, he specifically asked me to wear his mother’s ring to a special family party. The night of the event, when he noticed I wasn’t wearing it, I crossed my fingers (like a five-year-old fibbing) and said I hadn’t had time to go to the bank to pick it up.

A Girl’s Best Friend is Her …

While I hadn’t fessed up about my diamond duplicity, I have told my best girlfriend. The reason? I’m scared of flying. Before boarding a plane each time, I remind her that if anything goes wrong she needs to tell Jon to do one final sweep of my material remains in the hopes of finding his mother’s ring. Indeed, it comforts me thinking if the plane goes down that Jon will be so mad about the ring’s loss it will lessen his pain over the loss of me!

The Confession

For four years, this ring drama has been ringing in my head. Finally, last week, I couldn’t stand it. I confessed.

I told Jon as he was heading out the door to a meeting. He listened, nodded, and left.

The hours passed. He was gone longer than I anticipated. I called. No answer. I left a message. I texted. I worried. I waited a while. I called again. He answered.

“Are you mad at me?”

“I’ll be home in 20 minutes. Let’s talk when I get in.”

I was nervous.

I met him at the door. He smiled. Put his briefcase down and put his arms around me.

“You worried four years about a lost piece of carbon? We have weathered much bigger storms, suffered much bigger losses. I’m sorry you were so worried. You should have just told me.”

And then he kissed me.

“The truth hurts like a thorn, at first; but in the end, it blossoms like a rose.”
Samuel Ha-Nagid, Medieval Spanish Talmudic scholar

About the Author
Karen Galatz is the author of Muddling through Middle Age, which provides women (and men) of a certain age a light-hearted look at the perils and pleasures of growing older. An award-winning journalist, her national news credits include the The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and the Nightly Business Report. Her fiction and non-fiction writing has been published across the U.S. A native of New York City and Las Vegas, Karen now lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband, two children, and one neurotic dog named Olga, rescued from Florida’s Hurricane Erma. It all makes for a lot of geography and a lot of humor.
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