Thursday, April 14, 2011

THE SNAKE RING


My snake ring is not valuable but it is precious. It is not beautiful but it is eye-catching, quirky, unusual. It is made of heavy silver, and the snake’s head peers over its tail with beady eyes that may or may not be sapphires. The ring is a little too big for my finger, and recently I wore it at a family lunch – our second, very late, Christmas lunch complete with turkey and presents – and went home without it.

I suspected that it had dropped off into the box of paper rubbish that we collected after we had opened our glittery parcels. The rubbish had then been piled into the yellow bin – a large, rather full bin – for recycling and by the time I realised this, I was home and the family had scattered. I resigned myself to the idea that the ring was lost.

It had been given to me by my Significant Other who, unlike me, loved shopping. I wouldn’t notice a tempting article even if it was highlighted in a shop window with stars twinkling around it shouting “buy me!” My Significant Other was made of more discerning stuff and had an eye for interesting things. He also had great taste.

We had progressed beyond exchanging presents on birthdays or at Christmas, but the Significant Other didn’t let that stop him shopping. One of his pleasures was to come home with something, unexpectedly and for no particular reason, that he thought would please me. Usually it did, although once it was a particularly ugly two dollar teddy bear with its tongue hanging out. He saw it in his mind’s eye with a stud in that lolling tongue and couldn’t resist it. I often threatened to throw it out but never could – and now I never would. It sits on my bedroom sofa with its insolent tongue still studless and sometimes I poke mine out in return as I pass.

However the Significant Other was particularly tempted by rings. Not diamonds or rubies, but rings that caught his eye in junk shops. Every one is precious because of the thought behind it, and the snake ring was one of these. But it was lost in a heap of bright paper – or so I thought.

Then one day it appeared on top of the family’s letterbox – distorted and flattened. Clearly it had slipped off on the drive and been run over, unnoticed, and found later by a neighbour. It has now been carefully, meticulously restored to roundness – not quite perfect, but its imperfections are honourable scars that I wouldn’t be without. They are partly what makes it precious.

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