We have what we are given until it is gone. We have the loss. Only in the loss do we really have choices. We can clutch at the past as we might try to grasp a particularly alluring raindrop. We can refuse the knowledge. We can tell ourselves stories of betrayal, deceit, illusion – or we can write new stories. You know – stories not about failed “love”, but about a dog found on a desert highway; trees cleared to make room for yet more houses; lobster mushrooms sprouting from the damp forest floor; two perfect turkey vulture feathers found under a Ponderosa on the day you pulled the life-support from a desiccated fantasy; a ruby ring…
Red Ruby Ring Thank you, Lynette Sheppard
The black velvet box was square and too small to be the engraved ID bracelet I’d wanted. Grandma sat up straight, clasping and unclasping her hands, waiting for my verdict. I flipped open my gift, prepared to act thrilled. I’d already learned how to hide my true feelings when necessary.
Nestled in white satin folds lay a rose gold ring with a single dark red solitaire perched astride four prongs.
“Thank you, Grandma. It’s beautiful. It’s a ruby, right?”
“Yes, darling. It’s your birthstone. I wanted your first piece of real jewelry to come from me.” I slipped it on my right ring finger; it fit perfectly. Of course.
Grandma pushed her chair back, leaving tiny scratches in the old hearts of pine floor. “Let’s go show the others. It’s not every day a girl turns 13.”
I hated my birthstone. Rubies were too showy, too blatant, too loud, too RED. I wished to have been born in almost any other month. I wished it were possible to choose a stone that better reflected my inmost heart. I wished my family understood me.
A quiet girl born to a family of boisterous extroverts, I craved the milky mystery of opals, the midnight of sapphires, the glacial blue of aquamarine. Iridescent pearls that subtly hinted at inner secrets spoke to me. Turquoise with its deeper dreams of water in the desert quenched my desire.
I grew older, I married, divorced, married again, had children and a few careers. I wore the stones that soothed me when my signal seemed buried in the noise of everyday life. Raw tanzanite, watermelon tourmaline, and lapis became new talismans and always, always there was turquoise. They whispered gemstone stories that calmed my spirit and drenched my parched soul.
Still, I kept that ruby ring. It barely fits atop my pinkie these days. But sometimes I lift it from my jewelry box and hold it up to the light, twisting and turning, watching the flashes of fire within.
It reminds me that inside every cool woman-child lives a vibrant passion that can only be expressed in crimson tones.
And, our readers, what is the color of your passion?