On the ring finger of my left hand is a silver band. It is simple and pretty, with a light pattern that repeats itself over and over. It’s the sort of pattern you might see on a little girl’s dress or a grown woman’s shirt. There is a slight imperfection in the pattern where the ring was made to fit a finger not present for the making or purchasing. Still, it is a perfect circle.
This ring belonged to my mother, to the woman who raised me, to Sally.
This ring has been with me for my whole life. I know its history, how it was first given, and how it came by gradual transfer to be mine. It has always fit one of my fingers perfectly, although which one has changed over the years. Through changes and moves, losses and retrievals, styles and fashions, it has been there. I’ve washed the dirt of playgrounds and gardens from it, taken it off to swim or change a diaper. It’s my safety, my memory, and it will always be those.
On the ring finger of my right hand is a silver ring. It is nothing like plain: instead of one stone, it has four, garnets, the color of blood. The stones are surrounded by filigree, twists and turns that go in one direction and then change their minds and yet somehow arrive at beauty. The patterns are deeper, darker, mysterious. Its shape is not quite that of a circle, but it is nonetheless perfect.
This ring belonged to my birth mother, to the woman who bore me, to Bonnie.
I only received this ring recently. I know very little of its history, just that it belonged to the woman she became after me, a woman who left this world too soon. It fits a bit loosely on my right ring finger, but too tightly on the next. When I wear it, which is often, it slips around a bit, but never falls off. It matches a fair number of my necklaces and earrings, and looks very much like something that I would have bought. It’s my history, my connection, and it will always be those.
Someday, I will give both of these rings to my daughter, the little girl with Bonnie’s smile and Sally’s turn of phrase. I will give her these words, and hope that when she wears them, she thinks of the two women who wore them first, and of the woman who, together, they made.