Casting my hat into the ring
As the horn blows for a third time
Puck the rules
Casting my hat into the ring
As the horn blows for a third time
Puck the rules
So that was the moment he pulled out the engagement ring.
That caught her off guard. She wasn’t ready yet, but was that her doubt talking?
Only here was the large diamond breaking the light into rainbows in her face.
Now was when she had to make the big decision, not later. What should she do?
Eventually that became the bedrock of the rest of her life.
How much would you pay for this?
You might think it would be hundreds of dollars
Perhaps even thousands
Everything is just $19.95 with a separate processing and handling fee
Make those phones ring now and we will double your order
And just pay a separate shipping fee
Credit cards and money orders are okay
However, just give us a direct line into your bank account
Now if you do that, we will pay the tax
It will change your life in ways you can’t imagine
Everyone call now. Our operators are standing by
Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to meander in his explanation
Of course he should have decided that about ten minutes ago
Instead, here he was, and even he knew he was mucking up the whole thing
Now he stopped speaking and held his breath, hoping she would let it pass
That’s when he became the punch line, literally, and she knew how to hit
Ouch, but that was not the worst of it
For that’s when she turned and stomped out of his life leaving him in a hard place
Considering she took with her the engagement ring as a consolation prize
Obviously she wanted to hurt him in the pocketbook as well
Not like this was the first time they had had a major disagreement
To tell you truth he felt more like the victim in this situation
Even her sister had taken his side in the dispute
Now that could be because she was a bit biased
The fact that the sister was the woman he was making out with when she walked in
It might have something to do with it
Of course there was only one thing to do
Now that should make really interesting Thanksgivings
The ring bound him to her. He wondered what insanity had caused him to willingly volunteer to wear the cursed thing in the first place. Still, in that moment of weakness, he had accepted her boon and doomed his soul.
He looked at the perfect circle of gold and thought about chopping the whole finger off. He’d be better off maimed for the rest of his life. He couldn’t do it though. She had taken so much of his strength that he didn’t have the fortitude anymore.
Instead he closed his eyes and dreamt of her when she was alive.
He looked at her through the window of the restaurant
Until then he had been satisfied with his life
Now he knew he wanted something more
Given the sight of her, he could feel his appetite arise with a roar
Reaching for the door, he almost opened it
Yet he looked at the ring on his hand and realized he would be fed when he got home
The ice palace glowed reds and oranges as the sun began to set. Ben reached into his pocket and felt the small box sitting there. Alice was ahead of him, admiring an archway that the ice carver had etched in runes similar to those found in one of Tolkien’s books. That was her thing, fantasy books. Ben didn’t quite understand that part of her. Hell, he didn’t understand large parts of her, but still. When they were together everything felt as magical as the stuff in those books she liked to read. That was one thing he could definitely understand.
“Come look at this,” Alice said, pointing to a particular part of the arch. Ben walked over and took a look. Alice waved her hand underneath a particular symbol and continued. “They have the script mostly right, but I wonder if the sculptor really meant to change gender like that.”
Ben peered at the squiggles, trying to make sense of anything, but after a few moments any optimism quickly evaporated in the freezing cold air. “I don’t know, dear. Maybe he just had his chisel slip?” Ben asked.
Alice laughed. “That’s silly. The word is just totally wrong. I know my Middle Earth script. Whoever wrote this down didn’t know what they were doing,” Alice said.
“But they got most of it right,” Ben said. “That has to count for something.”
Alice turned and looked at Ben like he had said the dumbest thing ever said about Middle Earth script, and that was saying a lot according to Ben. “That is like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa,” Alice said. “It would be like adding pink flamingos to the Sistine Chapel. It would be like breaking off David’s schlong.”
Ben did a double take. “Breaking off David’s schlong?” he asked.
“You know, the statue by Michelangelo,” Alice said. She spun away from Ben and began to walk to the next room. “He is also my favorite teenage mutant ninja turtle.”
“David?” Ben asked as he hurried to catch up.
Alice gave him a play punch to his arm. “Very funny hun. You enjoy messing with me don’t you,” she said.
Ben laughed a bit nervously. “You know me,” he said. He made a mental note to look up mutant turtles when he got back home and Alice was not around. Otherwise that would not end well.
Alice gave Ben a quick kiss on his cheek. “Yes I do, and you know me,” she said. She then worked her way to the small fire burning in a burn barrel in the center of the open air room. The light danced and played off the almost mirror-like reflections of three walls and diamond-like refractions along the fourth. Here Ben could see why Alice was so entranced by magic.
Alice warmed herself next to the fire, spinning around the barrel to take the light show in. “This is awesome,” she said with a whisper.
Ben smiled. “It is amazing how they can create such an optical display with such primitive optics,” he said.
Alice stopped her spinning immediately. “Don’t go there, Ben. Don’t you drop your engineering physics mumbo-jumbo on me. Just let the magic happen,” Alice said.
“Magic is the same thing as science unexplained,” Ben said. “That’s what makes science wonderful. I can be a wizard of reality, just like Harry Porter-“
“Harry Potter!” snapped Alice. Ben realized he had stomped on one of the things she held sacred.
“Sorry,” Ben continued, “just like Harry Potter was a wizard of fantasy.”
Alice shook her head. “Don’t worry about being a wizard of reality right now,” she said. She gestured around them. “This doesn’t need explaining. This needs experiencing.”
“But if there was magic in the world, wouldn’t you want to know how it works so you could do magic?” Ben asked.
Alice turned back to the fire. “Sometimes I wonder why we are together,” Alice said softly.
Ben came up behind Alice, his hands reaching for her shoulders, but he couldn’t bring himself to touch her. “You just said that you knew me and I knew you. That must mean something,” he said.
Alice kept her back to Ben. “I don’t know why I said that to be honest. It must have been the magic of the moment,” she said. “Then again, you don’t believe in magic.” With that her shoulders slumped.
Ben felt the cold of the room press in on him. This was the exact opposite of what was supposed to happen. “I believe in our magic,” he said with a small voice.
Alice turned around and looked into his eyes, searching for something. Ben resisted the urge to look away. He didn’t want to scare away the small amount of hope he was in Alice’s eyes. “Do you mean that?” she asked.
Ben dropped down on one knee. He pulled out the small box out of his pocket and opened it revealing a diamond ring. The diamond exploded in the play of light in the room. “Alice Walker, will you marry me?” Ben asked.
Alice looked like Ben was speaking another language. “What are you talking about?” she asked. “Why would I marry you? You don’t know me.”
The temperature fell at least another ten degrees in the room sending chills down Ben’s spine. It was now or never. Ben took the ring out of the case and through the ring into the flames. Alice’s eyes went wild. “What are you doing?” she asked.
Ben pulled a telescoping pointer out of his pocket. He extended it and fished the ring out of the fire. He held the glowing ring close to Alice’s face. Alice’s eyes grew wide as she peered close. There around the ring was written in Middle Earth script ‘One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.’
Alice began to tear up. “Yes, yes, yes!” she said as she took the hot ring off the pointer gingerly. She looked at Ben as she juggled the ring from one hand to the other. “You really do understand me,” she said.
All Ben could think of was thank God for the internet. You can base a relationship on what you learn from Google, right?
Linda waited while the sales clerk scanned in the bar code on the ring. Linda looked everywhere but at the register and the clerk. The clerk looked at the display. “That will be six thousand forty-three dollars and eighteen cents,” the clerk said.
Linda almost choked, but she hid it well. “Are there any discounts or sales on it?” she asked.
The clerk smiled a disarming smile. “I’m afraid this is a popular setting, so we hardly ever have a sale on that particular style. Sorry,” the clerk said.
“Can you check if there is one coming up?” Linda asked. “It would make things so much easier.”
“I can check,” the clerk said, “but I really don’t think so.” He put the ring back into the case and slipped off to the small office behind the counter.
Linda looked around the store, wondering if she should just leave now. This was a stupid idea. Of course it was just the latest of a series of stupid ideas. Linda took a step toward the door and hesitated.
That was the exact moment when the clerk came back. “There is not a sale coming on, but my manager has agreed to take ten percent off if you buy it today. What do you say?” he asked.
Linda kept her smile on her lips, but the light behind her eyes slowly dimmed and shimmered behind tears that were just barely held in check. She turned around to face the clerk taking the ring back out from behind the glass. He placed it on a silk pillow. Of course it had to be a silk pillow. Linda wanted to take the ring and throw the pillow to the ground, jumping on it till it was nothing more than a remnant of a bad dream.
Instead she picked up the ring and held it oh so carefully. It felt far heavier than it had any reason to do so. She put it back on her finger and it settled into the indent on her ring finger perfectly. Well her husband had always the best taste in jewelry. She couldn’t stop thinking about how natural it looked there, and at the same time how much her stomach turned at that thought.
“So what do you think?” asked the clerk, snapping her attention back to the world at large.
Linda took the ring off. There were other ways. She didn’t need to go back to pretending. She… placed it back on her finger. “I’ll take it,” she said, her voice sounding hollow even to her.
Back home Linda sat with her cellphone, deleting her history as fast as she could. The front door closing caused her to start. She quickly locked her cellphone and walked to the entryway. Carl was shaking off the snow from his hat before placing it on the top shelf of the closet. “Hey there, Beautiful, how was your day?” Carl asked.
Linda just held up her hand where the new ring sat upon the old wedding band which had been cleaned to gleam just as much as the new one. Carl smiled a huge grin. “You found it! And it looks so new,” he said.
“Well I got it cleaned at the store. I wanted them to check it just in case something had loosened,” Linda said.
Carl gave her an awkward quick kiss to her cheek. “Great idea. I’m glad you found it. It cost me a fortune,” he said. “Oh, next week I’ll be gone again. Janet needed a partner for that big presentation next week and she called in her best hitter. Nothing special to me though. Just the same old, just a different day.”
“Yep, the same old,” Linda repeated to the closet as Carl turned on the TV in the other room.
“Have you got dinner ready?” Carl called out. “I’m starving.”
Linda looked at the ring again, tears this time escaping her control. “It’ll be ready in just a minute. I made your favorite, lasagna,” she said.
She waited for a response that never came before going to the oven to check if the lasagna was still as cold as she felt.
Figment of imagination
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