LOST MY WEDDING RING
Losing My Wedding Ring on an Airplane Reminded Me of the Power of True Love
I never thought I would actually look forward to rifling through the trash on an airplane, especially in the bathroom on said airplane. A bathroom that had been used by more than 300 strangers. But there I was, looking forward to the moment when our flight from Johannesburg to Washington D.C. would touch down in Accra, Ghana for refueling. Only after the ground crew had cleaned could I dive into the abyss of stiff paper towels and used tissues.
Sometime during the flight I noticed it was missing. Luckily, with an empty seat next to me, no one else had the honor of being so up close and personal with my meltdown. If you've never had the experience–crying on airplane–well, it sucks.
My fingers had swelled up early into the flight, which prompted me to take my ring off and put it on my pinky. I'dneverdone this. Not in a zippered pouch or my wallet. Not my pinky. This was a disaster of my own making. How would I get off the plane the next day and tell my husband that I'd lost my wedding ring and that it was my own fault?
Worst of all, I'd actually fallen asleep, which means that my sense of time was also lost. When had I taken my ring off? Had I gone to use the lavatory? Had I been in my seat the whole time? My hands started to search the area around and under me. I turned on the flashlight on my phone, trying to avoid waking up the sleeping passengers in my vicinity. I rummaged under the cushions, under the seat in front of me. I hovered over every step in the aisle, shining the beam of light on the blue carpet. Nothing.
I then asked the flight attendant, "Has anyone turned in a diamond wedding band?"
Minutes seemed like hours. It was just a ring, I'd tell myself. Yes, it was just athingmade of stones and metal. Except that it was more than that.
My wedding ring was a symbol of promise. Of hope. And now I'd lost it. My mind slid into a spiral of memories reminding me of my all my failures in love. And maybe this was me messing up again with the man that, thanks to the modern miracle of online dating, accepted me for all that I am–mistakes and all.
And yes, it was just a ring. But it was my ring and our story. So I cried and kept crying.
Eventually, even my best attempts to hide my emotions failed. Flight attendants stopped by at regular intervals to put a hand on my shoulder. A young woman seated across the aisle offered to help search when the lights came back on. And when the plane landed in Accra, complete strangers had joined me on hands and knees, like an army of ring-searching soldiers. One woman even said she'd go through the trash bag with me.
At the last minute, it was a couple married 54 years–Jim and Donna–who saved the day. They'd searched under my seat and around their own to no avail. But a shiny reflection caught their eyes as I was donning my rubber gloves, going in for what I thought was my last chance. The ring had gotten stuck between the hardware of the seat and the cushion.
Somehow the fact that this couple found my ring made it even more symbolic. With three adult children of their own and several grandchildren, here was a love that represented all that is possible. I'd seen them helping one another as they boarded the plane. I'd heard them chatting throughout the flight about their adventure in South Africa. I saw how even after all these years, they looked at one another with respect and affection.
"Is this your ring?" Jim asked with anticipation. He'd either made me the happiest woman on the planet or had just found a random diamond ring. I had to stop myself from kissing him right there in front of the lavatory.
Video: BUYING GIRLFRIEND HER DREAM WEDDING RING!!!
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