The Lost Ring: Part II

Back for part two of this prompt: writing about something you misplaced using only the passive voice.

I have to admit that this was a bit of a challenge – I’m not used to using the passive voice and pride myself on never using it. I was taught that the passive voice is weak, as its name suggests, and it makes your writing look weak and uses up too many words.

Like a lot of things we learn from professional writers and teachers, there is no hard and fast rule to the passive voice, and I’ve found that sometimes I’m not too turned off by it when I come across it (case in point, this sentence). There could be an instance where a character is or is narrating a passive scene or are themselves a passive background character, so using the passive voice here wouldn’t be the end of the world. I had just as much of a challenge last week while writing only in the active voice; I had to catch myself and double check whether a sentence was sneaking in the passive voice, and edit accordingly.

Besides being a challenge, I found this as an opportunity to read less like an editor sometimes and just read like a reader. It sometimes takes me more than one reading to step into these roles, but I need to remind myself that just as I’d like for someone to be kind to my work, I need to be kind to someone else’s, and to not be such a hardass about the passive voice. After all, there are some people who are very offended when they read a sentence that starts with “and” or “but,” and I don’t think twice about doing that!

There’s a foot for every shoe. Or, rather, there’s a ring for every finger…

Image of rings in a tray
Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash. In an unsurprising turn of events, I’ve lost all pictures of the ring in question or my wearing it…

I am dropped and now I am bounced across a train that is taken by her on every work day – except when the gym is paid a visit. I am bounced on the train floor and the sound is questioned by passengers not lost in the music or books carried to pass the commuting time. I am rolled under seats, between legs and around bags, until I am stopped behind a seat leg.

She has been seen by me through three graduations, at least five moves and a few boys and, most recently, guys.

I was given to her at 15 as a gift and I was so treasured for having the birthstone of April, the month her father was born. She was teased for my fitting perfectly on her left thumb but on none of her other fingers.

Her emotional milestones were watched from my perch on her finger, and I was removed at security during her many travels. She was accompanied by me on so many travels, so many train rides, so many commutes by car, foot and train.

And now I am dropped. And I will be forgotten and abandoned, because while I will be thought about for a day or two, as with the other rings lost over the years, I will be forgotten and thought about fondly down the line sparingly. Her brain, memories and feelings will be filled up with more important things, just like the same finger that was occupied by me will be occupied by another ring some day.

Rings have been her staple for years. Before I came along, her fingers were populated by cheap jewelry, the kind that her skin was stained green with after a few weeks. Before her finger was habited by me, her wrists were full of bracelets, but bracelets never kept her attention or fondness for a long time.

People she was misunderstood by, people she was disliked by or people she was admired by would marvel at how her fingers were adorned. Wondered how long her morning was extended if her fingers needed to be dressed too. These comments were often seen as an imposition by her, a testament to how little she was known by these people.

When the train is covered in darkness at the end of the day, I am grabbed by a gloved hand and shoved into a pocket. Covered again in darkness and jostled, I am assaulted by fear at where my story will take me. No doubt there is another finger waiting to be adorned and dressed by my shiny and silver offering. As much as she will be missed, it is my purpose to adorn, not to care. There is another job to be had, another person to accompany for as long as I am wanted and needed.

I am carried inside this pocket for a while, before ending up in a clear bag with writing on it. I am left on a shelf for a few weeks before being given as a gift to another woman. And so my story is begun anew.

I know I will be missed. The sadness was evident on her face as I was dropped. So was the indecision: walking away or saving? She was accompanied by me for long enough – she could be released. She is evaded by readiness and preparedness as she is left behind, but her choices are limited. It was time. Time for a new story to be started for her too.

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.