This is the story of a ring.

That slipped off a finger, hovering and dancing as it cascaded toward the ocean floor.

Then nestled itself in a blanket of dark green sea grass.

And, as the sun descended, and its owner noticed its absence ...

The ring became a loss.

But, as you may have guessed, the ring’s story began long before that.

The ring, like all others, started as an idea.

Simple, two white gold bands with a slight, angular wave. One with a small diamond. One without.

A jeweler’s able hands poured metal into molds. He placed the small, shimmering rock in a perfect, asymmetrical position.

Then idea became a thing.

An elegant custom ring in the window of a shop.

A boy walked by.

When he held the ring, it felt right.

So, one afternoon, he whispered heartfelt words and placed the ring on his girlfriend’s finger.

And the ring became a promise.

Months flew by, filled with plans.

New paint colors and moving boxes.

Flowers, dresses and tiny cakes to try.

Then the girl and the boy stood in front of their family and friends.

They joined their lives together, with the hope of forever in their eyes.

And the ring became a vow.

When the boy and the girl would argue, the girl would sometimes spin the ring.

She’d run her thumb along the grooves and it would remind her that this boy, now a man, had once picked just the right thing for her.

And, no matter how distant they seemed, he’d known her so well once — better than she’d known herself.

So the ring was a comfort.

Some mornings, in the years of crowded beds and sunrise cuddles, their children would try on the ring.

They’d ask questions about where their Daddy found it and what it meant. They slide the metal circle over their tiny thumbs, laughing as it slipped right off.

Until one day, it fit just right.

On those days, the ring was a marker — of a child growing and time passing.

Of an idea crafted into a thing.

A thing that was a promise.

A promise that became a vow.

A vow that served as a comfort.

And a comfort that stood the test of time.

So the girl, now a woman, shed tears over her loss. Not the metal or the shiny rock attached, but the loss of the comfort, of the promise, of the vow.

And maybe it was because of the tears,

Or because of the promise.

Or maybe because of the big future still spread out before them.

The boy, married more than a decade now, went back to the ocean.

Alongside his children, he dug in sand.

He peered into water.

He helped his son dive down to the ocean floor.

When he returned home, he smiled at the girl.

And he gave her a whole set of tomorrows — with her ring.

A little about me:

Betsy Lee is a freelance journalist. She lives in a perpetually messy house with her husband and four children.. You can e-mail her at contactbetsylee@gmail.com.