Not every blog is going to churn out as a manifesto.
But sometimes, even when I’m running late, and my head is pounding, there’s something that’s begging to be written. And said. And told.
We were at Walmart of all places the other day. I think it might have actually been our first time at the store together. And as we sneaked and snaked our way around the aisles, we eventually came face to face with a pathetic jewelry counter, half stocked and half cared about.
And we found a ring.
For $7.97, it’s a cheaply designed “rose gold” band of “diamonds”, wrapped around a dazzling, little sparkler that catches the light if you turn your hand just right.
And so, we bought it.
And when we were putting away the groceries that night, it fell out of one of the bags. And unceremoniously, I said: “oh here it is” and Jan said “put it on” and so I did. And there was no big scene, and no big kisses, and no big hurrah. Just a cheap, Walmart ring for $8.
But what comes with it?
The same thing that came with he asking me to move in. Or out for a drink, one fateful night in October. The same thing that happened when we knew our friendship was treading into best friend territory, and then criss crossing into one of a love that far exceeded what we’d previously found in one another. That ring, that little ring, was also a promise.
Jan and I aren’t flashy people. We’ve got big mouths, and flair for theatrics, so our writing and romantic posts are laced with fifty cent adjectives. But that’s the extent of our expense. We’ll have a date at the Keg on Sunday, because we were gifted a gift card at Christmas. But that’s how we work.
The beauty of our relationship relies on the simplicity in which we found it. Two people were just good friends, who became best friends, who became lovers. It was simple, and easy, and that’s where we ended up today. And every day, it’s basically like a perma-sleepover.
It falls so in line with who Jan and I are. A simple, little ring that didn’t cost more than ten dollars. The promise is its own weight in gold. The ring is a simple, solid reminder that we promised anything at all.
While Jan and I certainly do not have it all figured out, while we still do our fair share of sparring and spatting, we continually come back to the centre. We know that the axis of our worlds will continue to shift and spin, but in the middle of the chaos, the other is standing there waiting to right the dizziness.
As we learn more about each other each new day – from middle names, to credit scores, to how to organize freezers, and who wants to be on time, who can handle being an hour early, to who makes dinner, and puts away the dishes, all the way to the tougher things like how do we raise each other’s children as friends, (and not co-parents because we made the decision long ago that we’d be these kids’ friends, and worry about the technical terms later) – Jan and I continue to extinguish tiny flames that spring up along our newly found path. And then we look for the centre.
I’ve often talked about my past coming back and haunting me like forbidden fruit ready to stain an eager future. But if there’s anything to be said about having a colourful yesteryear like mine, it’s that I can use it to be a little smarter, a little wiser. On the one hand, I still have a plethora of wedding gifts I cart from house to house (how can you argue with a toaster, or a set of dishes?)<insert smirk> But on the other hand – the one of logic and rationality – I’ve seen my fair share of how things can fall apart, and have aligned my arsenal with tools like patience, and understanding, and coming back to one another after it all fell apart.
We try to not use “infinite words” – “all”, “every”, “always”, “any”. I’m not always a bitch. He isn’t always lazy. I don’t lose my patience every time something doesn’t go my way. He isn’t a pain any time I speak my mind. And we try to use “I” statements when we’re in the depth of an argument. “I believe that …”, “I feel …”. Oh – and he hates falling asleep mad. Even if it means hammering it out in the basement, far away, and quietly until the feelings of hurt run dry, and we can go to sleep soundly.
It sounds simple. And because Jan and my relationship is anything but simple (the complexities of two grown ass adults navigating the lives of five children, one house, two careers, side hustles, cars, etc.), a tiny ring from Walmart is the perfect summation of working it back to where it really counts. Does it matter if the ring is ten dollars? Does it matter if date night is just staying in and playing cards? Does it have to be flashy to be worth something?
I sure as hell hope not. Because if anything Jan and I are – it’s that we aren’t flashy. We’re not putting on the Ritz. And we’re not reinventing the wheel. We’re just a couple of best friends, in a big world, with big promises. And that’s what where we spend bank. We drop bread on just being good to one another.
And I really hope this ring doesn’t turn my finger green. I really adore it.
— c ☆