“Did you pray?” my mother asked me over the phone.
“Of course I prayyyed.” I huffed.
While she’s been down in North Carolina for a wedding, I’ve been in my Florence apartment, scouring our bedroom high and low for my engagement ring, which had mysteriously disappeared. I wear five rings – six once I resize Rami’s grandmother’s ruby (her hands were tiny. It only fits on my pinky and not well). I had taken them all off in bed and a few had fallen on the floor during the night. When I went to put them back on, I had four, and no diamond.
Rami picked out the ring himself from the jeweler just down the street from the Duomo. The woman that owns the shop was at my in-law’s wedding. Our wedding bands came from the same jeweler, of course. I had no idea I was even getting a ring. We had just decided we were going to get married. I didn’t need a ring. And yet somehow he chose one that was absolutely perfect, elegant, beautiful. He successfully hid it from me for weeks in our (even tinier) apartment in the center and smuggled it on our trip down to Ascoli Piceno, the city where I studied abroad, and the one where we got engaged.
It didn’t make sense that it wasn’t on the floor by my side of the bed. The rest were there. The diamond was gone. I tore through the bedside table. Nothing. I swept under the bed, nope. Rami came home and moved the bed, and we vacuumed, and we searched, and I checked the storage area under the bed and the shoes inside the storage and nothing. I tried not to stress. It had to be in the house. We both shared the horrific thought of Luna eating it. Then I had the worse thought of it somehow ending up in the trash.
Losing that ring isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a lot of stability in my crazy life. I love wearing it because of what it represents, what it reminds me of – the memories of our engagement, wedding, honeymoon. Of showing my family and friends at home, of putting it right in the pocket of little Stitch’s nose as he snored. Sometimes at night if I take them off, Rami will ask for my engagement ring, and raise it up to his face inspecting it. He’ll shine it with his shirt, watch it glimmer under the light a bit more, then hand it back to me with a little grin, and I love it every time.
That was what was going through my head when I was tearing my house apart. Not that it was expensive, that it’s an investment, that I need it to look married. I just wanted it because of what it means, just like my family wanted to keep everything that was attached to a memory in an old barn in New Hampshire for as long as possible.
I was running out of options of where it could be, and soon I found myself standing in the middle of my kitchen politely requesting the assistance of St. Anthony. It’s automatic after a Catholic upbringing and I honestly don’t even know the actual prayer, but what I do know, is St. Anthony once lost a book of prayers and asked God to bring it back and so now we ask him because I guess God got too busy. However, he’s pretty good at his job, so good teamwork. So I prayed to St. Anthony to help me find my ring, as I have done for everything remotely important thing that has been lost over the span of my life, and I added emphasis that this one was pretty important, please? And if we could hurry it up, that’d be great because I’m losing my mind. A few hours later, and it’s back on my finger.
Our bed has a storage compartment underneath and occasionally things fall down into it. There’s a baseboard for the storage but it’s from Ikea so it’s made of cardboard and doesn’t fit perfectly, making cracks where rings can fit through. I pulled up the board and felt around in the metal bed frame and there it was.
So of course, I prayed. I may not go to Mass much anymore (I go sit in churches when I feel like praying – there are a million in walking distance that are always open and empty), and my belief and faith are completely different than when I was wearing pleated skirts at St. Joseph’s School, but some things are just there forever, and St. Anthony is one of them.