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"The ins and outs of the ring" - short story by Ana Beatriz Ribeiro. (Photo: public domain)

Short story: “The ins and outs of the ring”

in Dating/Literature by

She looked at her engagement ring and didn’t know what to do.

She’d take it off and put it back on, flick it, spin it on the kitchen table. Thought of melting it in the oven, throwing it out the window, letting it slip through the open drain in the bathroom.

But then, she’d think of the ring as an extension of herself – without which she could no longer imagine herself.

For four years they’d been together, she and her fiancé. Now the wedding was a mere few weeks away. They’d already sent out the invitations, paid for the reception, and planned out their respective “farewell to singledom” parties.

Now she was asking herself whether she really wanted this farewell.

She’d recently been promoted and was going to start traveling for her company. A new and promising job. Her fiancé had a problem with this, had been irritable lately. Told her that it’d be difficult to build a family like that.

She was making more money than he was. Had been meeting many new people who would come to her office, men more charming and successful than her fiancé.

One moment, she’d dream of finding someone who had similar ambitions as she – or at least for her. The next, she’d remember how much she liked her fiancé. And the next, she’d feel suffocated, cornered, trapped, the ring having morphed into the key to life… in prison.

She’d finger-flicked the ring so many times that it’d flown off the table, out of sight.

Calmly, she began to look for it on the kitchen floor. Within two minutes, she wasn’t as calm.

She looked for it under the fridge and the stove. Underneath and on top of rugs, tables and beds in all the rooms. Maybe the ring had suddenly acquired legs. Or maybe she’d lost her mind.

Meanwhile, the couple’s dog was lazily watching the scene from the living room couch.

Shortly after, her fiancé arrived home. He got upset for not finding dinner ready. She hurried to prepare something and ended up burning the food.

Now he didn’t pretend to enjoy the food like he used to in earlier times. He forked it, tried it and slid the plate aside.

Giving her a silent scowl, he went into their bedroom. The dog pricked its ears for a second, then lowered its head back down.

At least he hasn’t noticed the ring is missing, she thought, a tiny bit relieved.

About an hour later, the couple had quietly climbed into their bed, turned away from each other and fallen fast asleep. In the middle of the night, they suddenly woke up to an unbearably foul smell.

Horrified, they found out their dog had defecated on their bed. The dog had never done this before.

Still in a bad mood over the improvised, burnt dinner, and now even angrier, her fiancé got up to fetch toilet paper and clean away the feces. When he scooped up the soft, warm mass, he felt something hard.

It was their engagement ring.

© Ana Beatriz Ribeiro

An aspiring social scientist and former newspaper reporter, an avid eater, a pseudo-philosopher and poet, an occasion-propelled singer, a semi-professional socializer, a movie addict, a Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, but with special attention to travel, entertainment and lifestyle.

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