It's been a difficult two weeks--papers, quizzes, tests, the realization that two of my classes are finished for all eternity in about two weeks and I therefore have six class periods and four assignments to bring my GPA up to a respectable level. On Monday I took a little sanity break in the form of an oft' put off trip downtown to get my engagement ring cleaned. It's been awhile by the estimations of one who's only been wearing the ring for six months--I had it cleaned before Thanksgiving, but all things ("things" being the myriad holiday foods it accidentally ended up in thanks to Winter Spinning Ring Syndrome) considered, that's awhile.
Homework over my shoulder in a bag, I called my future mother-in-law for some advice on dealing with the church for the wedding while walking to the train station. Another crisis averted--for now. The El train pulled up and as I stepped in I was pleasantly surprised by the newly upholstered seats that greeted me. There wasn't a piece of pre-chewed gum or a gang tag on any of them...My, what a queen I felt! "Good afternoon, m'lady. Your chariot has arrived." What luxury to bring me to my destination!
I sat on the train, journaling about how I'm not sure if it's a sign of humility or pretension that I always dress up when I go to the jewelers. Not too much--jeans and heels, makeup applied, hair done--but it's not exactly a sweatshirt and Chuck Taylors either. This is major couture for college students, folks. I don't necessarily want the fine people downtown to think I'm an heiress, maybe just a chic young designer or the next up and coming cellist in the Civic Orchestra. Accordingly, I wear a lot of black. Try as I might, I always still feel like a little girl stepping into the Michigan Ave storefront. The door closes. I look around. Workers look at me. I inevitably make the first move, asking to get my ring cleaned. They inevitably ask if it's actually from their store. I inevitably say "Yes" in the sweetest voice I can manage, all the while imagining some witty retort that would remind us all of that scene in "Pretty Woman". I'll say it next time, I think to myself. It never happens.
They take my ring back into the recesses of the store and I poke around the display cases, silently amused at the mere shininess of it all, and stare anxiously at the door through whence my symbol of betrothal disappeared, as if it were the fine jewelry equivalent of the clothes dryer. No, Cindy, it's not going to be lost back there. You'll get it back. It's not a puppy, you shouldn't miss it.
Eventually the clerk returns, smiling as if to compensate for questioning my worthiness to be there. Try as I might, I can't help but beam, remembering the day that Kip and I went looking for this little symbol of love about a year ago. It's not the metal or the stones or the price tag--I told him I'd be happy with a trash bag twist tie shaped into a circle--it's the memory of looking for it together: noticing that he was trying so hard to be all serious and businesslike, but would crack into a grin when he thought no one was looking; remembering how for the rest of the day after we went shopping there, we'd catch each other's glance and just beam, and how every time we visited each other thereafter he'd take my hands, stare longingly into my eyes, get all romantic, drop to one knee and tie his shoe just to tease me.
Having thought all of this in the time it took for the jeweler to scrape the sweet potato casserole of yorn out of my setting, I gladly take my ring back, push it onto my finger, and thank everyone in sight as I head out the door. GPA be damned...that trip was worth it! Papers are temporary, this is forever :)