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first person

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Illustration by Drew Shannon

It was a glorious morning in a hotel room that is too luxurious to be legal. The bathroom is bigger than my living room and I think I will sell everything, move in and live in the Jacuzzi for the remainder of my life. They keep leaving Champagne – three bottles in less than 48 hours. Who can drink that much?

It was the first day after our wedding – a wedding that had taken 33 years to get to as neither of us was in a hurry. We had decided to build a life, raise two kids and hone our careers before embarking on the rest of our lives yoked together. That morning, I was lounging around happily, reflecting that it was worth the wait.

My “new” husband kept looking at his ring. He twists it, and takes it on and off. Muses that it is too tight. It is true that I really had to shove hard to get it over his knuckle during the ceremony. I wondered, as I was shoving it with all my might, whether a wedding had ever happened where the ring won’t go on. Fingers swell when they’re hot and one is nervous, so your ring size can change quite substantially.

My husband is a guy who has never worn anything on his person that wasn’t clothing. No stud in his ear, no rings or chains or bracelets. Not even one of those leather wrist thongs that every cool guy seems to wear. His one concession would be to wear a watch – practical not decorative – but even his watches seem to get lost.

So this morning – our first married morning, he is twisting this ring like it’s a wart he’s trying to get rid of, but I say nothing, thinking that in time he will get used to it and maybe grow to enjoy it.

As we start to pack up our various wedding paraphernalia he is uncharacteristically quiet and then he suddenly stops and says. “I’m afraid I have to tell you something.” My heart stops – “It’s a little late for confessions.” I tell him dryly. “What have you done?!”

“I can’t find my wedding ring.”

“How could it come off? I could barely get it on you!”

“It was really tight so I put it on my pinkie finger and it might have come off while I was in the shower.”

I still think he must be joking. Who does something like that with a brand new precious wedding band?

“Oh my God, you never wanted to marry me.”

“I knew you would say that. No, this is not some deep psychological resistance to marriage. It was just too tight.”

Good start to our continued life together.

I go into the shower stall – did I mention the shower is the size of an Olympic stadium? I stare up at the rain shower and then look down at the drain. There’s a long grill along the bottom and under that a small drain with slots.

“There is no way that ring could fall down through these slats. It’s too wide a band, it would have to do some crazy contortions to get through the first grill and then down this one.” I get my cell phone flashlight and squint into the drain. “I really don’t think it’s here. Are you sure you had it on in the shower?”

“I’m positive.” Then begins 10 minutes of me starting to look everywhere and he insisting it was down the drain. I pull out nail clippers to see if the drain can be unscrewed.

“That won’t work.” He says scornfully. “I’m going to call the front desk.”

Now this is the kind of hotel where they will do anything for you. Like anything. We arrived at 12:30 a.m. back from the wedding, carrying the top tier of our amazing wedding cake that our friend had made for us. Knowing that it wouldn’t fit in the mini bar, they brought an entire fridge to our room for our cake. So you know that if you need to find something you’ve dropped down the drain, they will rip the floor up to make it happen.

He picks up the phone.

“Hi, um, so we just got married yesterday.”

“Congratulations.” I hear the muffled reply on the other end.

“Thank you. Yes, well, um, the thing is, I dropped my wedding ring down the shower.”

I hear muffled, semi–hysterical laughter from the woman on the line who gets control of herself and says they will send the engineer up.

In the meantime, I continue to search. “I still can’t see how that could have happened,” I mutter.

“That is the last place I had it,” he insists with continued certainty, pointing at the shower.

“I think it’s … “ as I pull a shirt off the chair, “Here. It’s here!”


“Here in my hand. It was in the side of the chair.”

“How the hell did it get there?”

“Gee, I dunno. Maybe it walked from the shower.”

At that moment the engineer arrives at the door with some scary looking equipment. We compliment him on the expertise he no doubt has that we will never get to experience. My husband shoves the ring back on his finger with relief but clear discomfort.

That night at home I glance over and see something moving between his fingers like he’s practicing a coin trick.

“Is that your ring that you’re playing with?” I ask accusingly.

“Maybe.” Spoken with just a tinge of defiance.

“Just so you know,” I warn him, “I don’t trust a man who doesn’t wear his wedding ring.”

“I’ll get it fixed.” He promises me.

I have heard from a number of people that many have excuses for being ringless. “It interferes with my piano playing.” Tell that to Liberace. “I had three and they all got stolen.” Maybe keep it on your finger and it won’t. The best involved a marriage licence, not a ring. “My husband ‘accidently’ threw the marriage licence into the garbage two weeks after our wedding.”

It is now several years later after our stay at that decadent hotel suite. We have lasted through the togetherness of COVID-19 and the “honeymoon period” following our wedding. Recently, I found the wedding band tucked away in a little box – never resized, never worn.

I sighed looking at it. Some hills just weren’t meant to die on.

Annabel Kershaw lives in Vancouver.

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