I don’t own a jewellery box, and haven’t had the desire to acquire one. Not yet.
“If you were left on a deserted island for a month, what would you bring with you?” The little prince looks at me.
The question sounds familiar.
My list looks simple (or complicated?)
- A careful selection of books by Alice Munro, Virginia Woolf, Haruki Murakami, and Sanmao. (Shall I include James Joyce?)
- Soft and tender music (no genre specified and it all depends on the mood at the moment when I am packing my suitcase)
- 90 English Breakfast tea bags (3 cups of tea each day should be enough)
- A cream white merino wool blanket (king size preferred though I am a little woman)
- Two cream white dresses made of cotton or linen (loose and beach-friendly)
- 30 watermelons (grab half watermelon while admiring sunrise, and another half while watching the sun going down)
“What about jewellery? Are you bringing some nice pieces with you?”
- Oh jewellery! But jewellery is not books, music or watermelons. I can’t read, listen or grab a bracelet.
“So you don’t own a single piece of jewellery?”
- “Now you are being rude, or at least ignorant. Can’t you spot my necklace with that little sweet diamond on it?”
I lift my head and stretch my neck so he could see my lovely necklace glittering in the sun.
- “And my wedding ring with that little precious stone attached to it?”
I reach out my hand, but the ring ……
is not on my ring finger.
Here is when the real story begins.
It was a cold Sunday in December 2017. The Christmas lighting and decoration made the city look less dark and depressing. Sitting in the backseat of the car with my eyes closed, I overheard the loose conversation between my daughter and her younger brothers.
Gift bags stuffed with clothes and toys and decorations were squeezed under the seat. Christmas shopping was an arduous task that I could not escape from. Why no one raises a campaign against this Christmas over-consumption?
The car stopped at a red light. I glanced at my hands, but the ring wasn’t there. The heart started sinking, very slowly, into some deep cold water, as if it was preparing itself to deal with the sudden shock. My fingers looked pale and lonely. The mind went blank and I felt dizzy and sick. Where have I left it the last time?
The wind was blowing harder, making an abandoned newspaper fluttering violently on the corner of the street.
Someone would pick it up and keep it. Surely someone would. It was, after all, a diamond ring.
The snowflakes flying in all directions, and the boys started nudging each other. Why couldn’t keep quiet, just for a while?
It must be the yoga session I attended on Friday morning. I removed the ring from my ring finger to do the headstand. It was a failed attempt. After the class I gathered together my things and went straight to the wardrobe. My wedding ring was left on the corner of the yoga hall, and I was well aware that several classes were held in the same location during the weekend.
I rang up the reception and Linda answered the phone. Her Swedish accent was easily recognizable.
She said she hadn’t heard about the ring and no one had handed it to the reception.
“Could you please ask the cleaner if he has spotted it? And please ask yoga teachers who held sessions in that room.” I whispered. There was an awkward silence in the car. I quickly glanced at the rearview mirror. Was he, my husband, upset with my carelessness?
I hung up. The sky was getting darker, and the youngest had fallen asleep. Did it carry a message, the loss of my wedding ring? I gazed at my fingers, feeling a growing unease. It’s gone, I heard someone saying. It was my voice. The thought was unbearable.
I was painting pessimistic scenarios when Linda phoned me back fifteen minutes later. She said someone had just come up with a diamond ring that he found in the yoga hall. Her words sounded distant and surreal. I repeated her message and asked her to confirm it. She did. My wedding ring was recovered.
“Please take note of the name and telephone number of the person who found the ring. I have to thank him in person. Please. I’ll pick up the ring tomorrow morning.” My voice trembled slightly.
Linda passed me the yellow sticky-note together with my ring next morning. He had a nice name.
“Thank you for bringing my wedding ring to the reception. I am grateful for your kindness and thank you from the bottom of my heart.” I texted him.
“You are more than welcome. I believe anyone who found the ring would’ve done the same.” He replied shortly.
I later found out that he’s a doctor in his thirties, who worked as a medical volunteer in 2015, helping boat migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos.
I keep the stick-note in my purse. The handwriting has started fading but the message it conveys will not – kindness, hope and love.