The Lost Ring

Back with the writing prompts this week.

I’ve deviated from my content plan for the past few weeks, and I’m kind of proud of myself for that. I have a hard time being spontaneous on a normal day and I’m quite fond of routine, so when I catch myself veering off course without ruminating on it, it’s like a gift to myself. Spontaneity is so alien to me by now that I don’t even notice when I’m being rigid.

I am evaded by spontaneity

Being evaded by spontaneity isn’t just my attempt at being poetic, but a way to introduce what I’m tackling this week: writing about something you misplaced using only the active voice (see what I did there). 

This is part one of two of this exercise, and during next week’s installment, you’ll find out what happened to what I misplaced and find out that I know exactly where it is. It’s just not with me anymore.

Happy reading! What have you misplaced that you know exactly where it is?

Image of white background with various silver rings in the foreground.
Photo by Natália Jonas on Unsplash

Rush hour. Going home for nothing in particular other than because I finished the work day.

It’s the middle of summer and there’s a heatwave. It’s not a heatwave by my East Coast standards, but it’s a heatwave when very few places here believe in AC.

The train pulls up and it’s full already. My current stop is only the second on the line. I hop on and barely make it down the aisle before other riders block my way. I grab onto the back of the closest seat in front of me and square my feet up. Six more stops.

At the first stop, still underground, no one gets up and those of us standing have to find a space to shove into when more passengers come on. I squeeze a bit further down the aisle and find a new backrest to hold onto. Five more stops.

All available windows are open, but the heat and humidity find a way to make all passengers sweat. I’m wearing black jeans and a sleeveless top, but the ebook on my phone and music in my ears can only keep me distracted so long from the heat I feel everywhere on my body. I should have put my hair up.

At the second stop, more people hop on and off the train and the mass pushes me farther down the aisle, but at least I’m now directly in front of a cracked window. Four more stops and I can at least be out in the breeze.

We are above ground again as the train arrives at the third stop. No one moves out but more people come inside the train. We pull space out of thin air to accommodate ourselves.

The fourth stop rolls around and people start shifting, grabbing their bags and scoping out a way to leave the train with as little scuffle as possible. When the train finally stops, the frenzy begins, and yet I still can’t find an empty seat. It’s fine – just two more stops to go.

With the breeze from being aboveground also comes the warm, overbearing sunlight. Sunlight always feels better when you’re sitting on cool grass on a blanket that never gets damp, with drinks and snacks and nowhere to be until you feel like moving. With two stops away from your destination on the height of a summer heatwave, ten minutes feel eternal.

The fifth stop rolls around and enough people get off the train to allow me to square up my feet again and gain some space. With my stop in mind and so close I can see it, I relax a bit and try to reread the same page I’ve been stuck on since the second stop.

I feel an itch.

It’s an itch I can’t reach in my current predicament, but I have just enough purchase and dexterity to put my phone in my bag, hold steady with that hand and reach inside my pocket with my other hand to scratch the itch over my clothes through the thin fabric.

After I scratch the itch and start pulling my hand back out from my pocket, my ring catches on a belt loop, comes off my finger and bounces on the floor and under a few seats in front of me.

My stop rolls around at that moment and I have to get off the train. The image of getting on my hands and knees and under people’s legs flashes across my mind. The train stops and people shift around me, signaling me to drop or get off the train. I move with them and bid a silent farewell to the ring that has been on that same finger for 10 years.

On the walk home, I hope the ring has a good life, that whoever finds it wears it, sells it or gives it away. But I hope no one throws it in the trash as just a cheap piece of jewelry. As I contemplate that a piece of me is gone, while I’m so far away from home, I don’t feel too bothered by the heat anymore.

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