There are so many facets to this ring story I am unsure where to start, so I’ll go way back— not all the way back to high school but back to when he first mentioned marriage. I have been married and divorced. And I didn’t really enjoy either of them. I mean it wasn’t bad. He wasn’t a serial killer or party clown or something awful like that. It was just- meh. I thought I might just not be good at it. Mark then assured me that he was a champion spouse. That he liked being married and he would teach me the ropes and we would be Olympic level married people in no time. I still had my doubts. I told him I would get married under four conditions
- On April 1st
- In Las Vegas
- By Elvis
- With tattooed wedding rings
After picking Mark up off the floor. For those of you unaware, he has a fear of needles that causes him to sweat and then swoon and pass out like a Baptist church secretary at a Chippendale peep show. I carried him to the fainting couch and gave him smelling salts until he came around. At which point he began to negotiate like a New York stockbroker. He is all in on one through three but that number four…I got a Ted Talk on the benefits of physical ring.
After what could only be considered CIA level torture I agreed to consider an alternative to a tattoo. In his attempt to show me the upside of jewelry he took me ring shopping. I don’t wear gold so he took me to the place famous for simple silver fare. No, not Claire’s. We went to James Avery.
Now I must overshare. I have an unusual fear. Not a fear. A discomfort. And it is with an object that many people not only love, but they also revere. They decorate with it. They use them as ornamentation on their bodies. I grew up with them and saw them regularly as a child but when I was in my early teens, I visited a Catholic Church and too my chagrin I realized that my sanitized Baptist crosses had been a little misleading. Now every time I see a cross, I have that horror movie moment when I blink and see Jesus on a crucifix bleeding his life out and then blink again and it’s back to a pretty decorative cross. Now, all my friends understand my awkward pause in front of their beautiful cross walls.
Back to James Avery, which, by the way, is full of crosses. (Hang in there folks, I do get to the ring soon.) We meandered around, as much as two can meander in a twenty by thirty room. They had one display case of wedding rings. And then three or four other cases with rings. I could get a ring with an anchor, a ring with an angle wing, one with a heart and of course one with a cross.
There didn’t seem to be one that said “Mark and Janice.” We had separated to cover more ground and I came upon a case of mixed jewelry. It had charms, earrings, necklaces and a few rings. I saw a simple pretty ring with two little words on it, TRUE LOVE. I called the salesperson over to take it out, totally missing the bewildered look she gave me. As she handed it to me I realized it had a third word: WAITS. That’s right. I had picked out a purity ring. The ring I thought would be perfect for Mark to propose with was used by anxious parents to remind their daughters to not…you’re adults, you get it.
At this point I start to laugh. And not just snickering. I was laughing like a drunk college girl at a Carrot Top Show. Mark came over to join in the mirth. I told him, in between peals of laughter and gasps for breath, and he began to laugh and took the ring from me. He then said in a light voice “I can have it engraved on the inside ‘for 35 years.’ So it says ‘TRUE LOVE WAITS FOR 35 YEARS.’”
I was immediately sober and had tears in my eyes. You see, I had done the math. I knew it had been 35 years since we had dated, I just didn’t know that he knew. We laughed a little more and gave the ring back to the sales lady.
If you watched the proposal video, you probably heard me say thank you. It was because he proposed with that ring. And it is engraved “for 35 years.” It was—he is—worth the wait. And yes, I will be maintaining my virginity throughout the marriage.