The Broken Ring

The Broken Ring

There’s something awful about wearing a piece of jewelry for forever, and then not. It breaks, or you watch it fall down the drain, or you remove the thing by choice, or maybe one minute it’s simply not there. This thing that was attached to you that became so familiar and maybe even turned you green, it doesn’t get to be a part of your definition any more.

I wore toe rings throughout junior high, high school, and college. I still have the pieces of the last one from college, which broke during a dance class.

I bought a ring in Santa Monica for $2 and wore it everyday throughout college and well into my time in Montgomery until it snapped clean in two as a result of me fiddling with it one time too many.

I wore an anchor necklace every day for two years until the chain broke.

Peace Corps Mali tradition is to purchase a beaded bracelet from the market for each month you are in the country. I left my village for my final two-hour bike ride to the nearest city and stopped for the first time at a roadside market to take a break. I had passed these sellers dozens of times on my bike previously, always determined to make it to my final destination in under two hours. But that day, I sat with the peanut sellers and watched as cars went by. I helped them sell their peanuts to the cars that stopped. A woman my age took to me and eventually took a bracelet off of her wrist and put it on mine. She didn’t know that it was the same style as the monthly bracelets I had been collecting. She didn’t know the one she attached to my wrist was my favorite color. She didn’t know that I was in need of my sixth bracelet. Before I left these new friends, I took a pair of cheap Claire’s earrings out of my own ears and gave them to her. When I got back to the States I wore my six bracelets on my left wrist every day until the peanut seller’s bracelet snapped and the microscopic beads scattered in every direction. I removed the remaining five bracelets. Today, the salvaged peanut seller’s beads and the remaining five bracelets lay stuffed in a sandwich bag somewhere in a box of important things.

My remaining piece of jewellry from Mali was a ring purchased in the market for the equivalent of 50 cents and it broke in the shower tonight. There’s something awful about wearing a piece of jewellry for forever, and then not.


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