When I left my husband it took me less than 24 hours to take off my engagement ring. I’ll sell it immediately, I thought, just like the rest of the belongings that remained in our family’s house. But it’s still sitting in my change purse today, tossed about with a bunch of coins. When I evacuated for Hurricane Matthew back in October, I grabbed it from my jewelry box and took it with me to Gainesville.
What’s holding me back is the logistics of selling it. How much is it really worth? Will I look back someday and wish I had kept it? It’s the one remnant of my past life—something I can hold as proof: I used to be like you. I used to have a husband and a house and two dogs. I used to be normal.
Right before the holidays, I decided to give it up. I have a friend who works at Zales at the Avenues Mall. He said he would evaluate the condition of the ring to help get me started. It had been years since I stepped foot in a shopping mall. Disoriented, I lucked out and stumbled in the right direction. This Zales, it turned out, was the store where my ex husband and I casually browsed engagement rings after a couple months of dating.
My friend was sharply dressed and standing behind the counter. I presented my ring as if it was a card from a hidden deck in my purse.
“What do I do with this?” I asked.
He made small talk and ushered me to the back of the store. I’m not so in-the-know when it comes to jewelry, and I’ve not once had my ring cleaned in the nearly 12 years that I’ve owned it. He said I’ve kept it in great condition somehow. (Note to ex husband: See, it did make a difference to take it off while I swam laps and shaped your hamburger meat, even though I often forgot to put it back on.)
“If you put this on Craigslist, you’ll probably get offers as low as $30 or $40 from people who want to use it for scrap pieces,” said my friend. “If you bought this new in a store, it would go for between $500 and $600.”
He was giving me a range to help set expectations, but his range was way off from mine. I thought it would go for at least $1000.
“That’s a carat diamond ring,” I said, confused.
“This is a half carat at best,” he replied. He walked to a case, pulled out a full carat diamond ring, and held it next to mine.
I left Zales choking back tears as I realized that even my engagement was cloaked in a lie. I told myself I’d keep the ring in case one of our boys wants to use it someday. It’s something their dad gave their mom once upon a time, which might have some value to them. But man, what I really want to know is what the hell happened in my marriage? Where’s the Zales for getting that assessed?
Through numerous endings—relationships, jobs, friendships—I’ve come to realize that we rarely get the concrete answers and explanations we want. What the hell happened is rarely discoverable, and even if it was, the description of what the hell happened is going to be different depending on who is looking at it. And here is where I’m stuck. How do I move on and let go when I don’t even know what the hell happened?
I don’t know the answer. All I can offer is a hint of inspiration I borrowed from one of my favorite astrologers. She says that somehow we have to “release ourselves from needing to know the truth outside ourselves and instead come into honoring the truth within. That can bring about healing.”
So again, we’re back to this self-focus thing.