Saturday, February 2nd, 2019
It was late and as I was approaching my car in the airport garage, I saw the blurry lines of him, more movement than human, his car parked in the slot next to mine, using the same urgency to unlock it to get home. In the dark cold, a ring I was wearing suddenly flew off my shrunken digit and settled somewhere below in the dark.
“Damn it!” I said aloud and used my phone’s flashlight to sweep the car’s underbelly. Meanwhile I could hear him nearby speaking in another language- Chinese?- gently to someone on his phone. The ring was nowhere and I was torn between my urgency to find it to my urgency to be gone from this netherworld. I imagine my husband sleeping on the sofa next to our dogs by the fire. The ring wasn’t at all valuable- a dear friend had given it to me after I had casually admired it- she had found it at a flea market for forty bucks the same day I had admired it and had simply slid it off her finger with the same detachment it had come off on mine tonight. At one moment my tepid iPhone beam scaled my neighbors’ tire. Suddenly his iPhone light joined mine: I saw his intent face, look up and down as if looking under a ship for a leak. “Just a ring!” I said and wiggled up my finger, not sure those two words
together made sense. Seeing I meant jewelry he responded something urgently in Chinese. “It’s OK,” I said after a few minutes more of us both searching, waving my hand to show it didn’t really matter after all. His phone rang but he refused to answer it. I got up and opened my car door to signal I had given up. But he remained hunched over. His devotion annoyed me and I felt shame. I turned on the ignition. He looked up surprised. I placed my hands together in the international gesture of thanks and apology. My wedding ring touched the finger that once held the other ring. He stood there not moving, until he saw I was ready to back out. He stepped aside. I waved and slowly pulled away. Then I felt a knock on my back window. I felt the vibration of it, like the back of my head was resting against that glass. I looked in my rear view mirror. In his free hand, he held up the ring, offering me to stop.