Essay: A Lot of Fire

Sep 4, 2020

I’m standing at the jewelry counter waiting to purchase a battery for my watch.  At the other end of the counter is an old woman talking to the salesman about her wedding ring.

“I want to wear it,” she says, “but it doesn’t fit right.”

She lays her left hand on the counter, a lovely hand with long fingers which are twisted with arthritis.  The salesman gently helps her slide the various sizing rings over her knuckle.  Beside the old woman is a middle-aged woman whose features identify her as a daughter.  She catches my glance and we share a smile.

“Let me have a look at this ring,” the salesman says and picks up the magnifying lens.  “Two of the prongs are thin so you might want to have them replaced.”

The old woman nods and stands up straight, pushing against the frame of her walker.  “Yes, sized and pronged,” she says, “So I can wear it.”

While the salesman is writing up the order, the old woman looks at the jewelry in the case.  Her eyes are keen and her hair is thick and white.

“My opal is prettier,” she says, pointing at a ring.  “That one has a lot of fire in it, though.”