The Wedding Ring

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  • I wear her wedding ring every day.
  • In a moment of lucidity two years ago, she slipped it on my finger one day and asked me to keep it safe after she was gone.
  • “You’ve got to plan these things in advance, you know. Age doesn’t ask - it just takes.”
  • Then, she immediately forgot what had happened and asked me for the fifth time where we are right now. We were at her home.
  • I wear her wedding ring every day because it represents love.
  • The love she had for her late husband, a tall man with a jolly laugh, who never ran out of jokes to tell.
  • The love she had for her mother who suddenly died when she was 7 from a perfectly curable disease, if only they had the means back in Soviet Armenia.
  • The love she had for her father, who shot off his own finger so he could be dismissed early from WWII and come back to his kids.
  • The love she had for her daughters, which she never learned how to express because she didn’t have her own mother long enough to learn from.
  • The love she has for her brothers, whose photos she talks to because she thinks they are video chatting when we show her photos on a smartphone.
  • The love she has for my brother and me, which she communicates through kissing our hands and holding them up to her face.
  • I wear her wedding ring every day because she has lost everything several times.
  • Once when she moved from the village to the city, taking nothing with her.
  • Again when her house was robbed in her 20s, as the family was sleeping.
  • Again when she moved to the US with only one suitcase of clothes.
  • And again when we moved multiple times throughout LA as my family was trying to “make it” in America.
  • It is the only object she has kept since the day she received it.
  • I wear her wedding ring every day on my ugly hand.
  • The left one, where I have to cut my nails all the way down so I can play the violin.
  • It makes me feel graceful as I play.
  • And when I feel graceful as I play, I remember how to be graceful as I live.
  • I wear her wedding ring every day because I will remember her life, even when she can't.
  • “Why did you put this pointy hat on me?”
  • “It’s your birthday today, Grandma.”
  • “Oh. Ok. Is that a wedding ring on your hand? Did you marry that guy?”
  • “No, Grandma. It’s your ring. You asked me to keep it safe.”
  • “Oh. That’s probably a good idea. I’d lose my own ass if it wasn’t attached to me.”
  • She pauses.
  • “Don’t wear it on your wedding finger.”
  • “Why?”
  • “Men will assume you are married and stay away from you, and then your eggs will rot.”
  • “Hah ok, Grandma.”
  • “Hey Ang - Sak - Flor - oh right - Mar. Why did you put this ugly hat on me?”
  • “It’s your birthday today, Grandma.”
  • “It is?”
  • “Yes.”
  • “How old am I?”
  • “84.”
  • “Well shit. That’s pretty old.”
  • Pause.
  • “Hey, why am I wearing this weird hat?”
  • Sigh.
  • “Because today is a special day, Grandma.”
  • “It’s special because you’re here,” she says as she kisses the back of my left hand and hugs it to her face.
  • Happy birthday, Grandma.

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