I bought Michael a ring on ebay for $15. I know, it’s cheap, but he picked it out and actually we think it’s kind of funny. Any way, the ring showed up over the weekend and he’s been wearing it. It’s weird to me to see him with a ring on that finger. I’ve always been slightly distracted by his hands in general. They are large, but not chunky. Long and lean. Strong, capable hands. Sometimes his hands make me feel really small. I don’t mean small in an insignificant way, but small as in dainty and petite. Now there’s a ring on that left ring finger and it’s odd because I didn’t think that him wearing that ring would matter all that much to me. It’s particularly odd at the moment because I am with out a ring. It feels a bit scandalous really. I am the mistress.

The rings were Michael’s idea. He wanted me to wear something that signified that I was in a relationship. The feminist in me rolls my eyes at his archaic idea of branding me, but since he also planned on wearing a ring that makes us equally “branded”. My ring finger still holds the indention and markings of the previous set of rings that I now wear on the chain around my neck. My fingers have been bare for almost two years. Adjusting to a new ring was not as difficult as I anticipated. Adjusting to the sight of a ring on his hand is another story. I tell myself “that’s ridiculous”. It’s just a metal loop. Jewelry. Adornment. But there’s something different about that simple band. When I was single I noticed those ringed hands or at least I paid more attention to them. I didn’t really trust intentions of those without a ring. Sometimes I didn’t trust the intentions of those with a ring. I may say at first without thinking that the ring doesn’t really matter so much, but I remember. I remember the day Chris lost his wedding band in the chair he’d been sitting in. He’d lost so much weight that the ring had just slipped off. I remember how much it upset him when he realized that he couldn’t wear it any more, how much it meant to him to be able to wear that ring. I don’t think I truly realized the importance of that symbolic ring until that moment.

When Michael asked me if I would wear a ring for him, I said “sure” with a shrug of indifference. I think I may have said that if it’s important to him then I would wear it. I wasn’t necessarily resistant but I was definitely nonchalant. Perhaps my indifference and whatever attitude was just a protective coating. There is something in the idea of protecting myself from falling back into a relationship where I hand over my heart. Shielding myself from creating a permanence. Sunday morning, as Michael’s arm snaked around me to hold me close as we lay in bed, I could feel his ring and a twinge in my gut. It was not a bad twinge, but the kind that makes the heart race. Sealing the deal. I can no longer keep him at arms length or make light of this relationship. Because, like it or not, that ring means something. There is a little bit of fear in that. It makes me unsteady on my feet. Light headed. Woozy. Unsure of myself.

But then he places his hand on the small of my back to steady me and I’m OK.