The Ring

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“Take me to the beach” she said. I knew going in that I was going to propose. We’d been lovers, traveled the length of India, lived together, fought together, broken up a couple of times but somehow remained friends over the course of fifteen years. She came to see me in Mexico and now, months later was joining me in Thailand. I was madly in love again. But I had no ring.

A man can’t propose to someone without a ring — it’s just poor form.

I was really stressed about it — I didn’t know her ring size and couldn’t ask without blowing the surprise. She was arriving at midnight and then we were flying to Krabi and the island of Koh Yao Noi at noon the next day. Jewelry shops don’t really open until 10:00am so it’d be tight.

But still, I had this James Bond fantasy that I’d sneak a ring from her finger and run out to a shop and buy one while she slept, then rush home.

Reality can be cruel: she didn’t wear rings.

So we landed on the island where there was really no chance of buying one but we snuggled into a beautiful bungalow and had a wonderful time. We could see the sun rise over the water, birds flying about the grounds and in ten minutes we could walk to our favorite beach spot.

It was remote enough that she could swim topless and I may have gone into the water nude once or thrice. Five times max. It was perfect.

But I didn’t have a ring.

There wasn’t much in the way of wave action.

It was a beautiful scene, turquoise water surrounded by islands of limestone pushing their way into the sky and waves that didn’t seem to have the will to more than limp along to land. When I tired of swimming I retreated to the shore and there the waves pitched up. And a big one smacked me right in the face.

I fell back and my right hand landed on it — a simple rusted and well-worn washer older than me, scored by ages of sand and water and grit. Square, with a hole in it. Edges beveled and worn down with time.

The Ring.

I had intended to wait but it just felt right and while we had cheese and white wine in the shade of a palm, I asked her to marry me. And she said yes. And I was the happiest man in the world.

“This is just a placeholder – we’ll get you a proper ring back in Chiang Mai.”

I ended up wearing it — she was petite and my hands are built for the plow, not a piano. It just barely fits my pinky but was way too large and heavy for her.

In the end, our relationship didn’t last. Again. We fell back into the same patterns of bickering that doomed us the first time.

But I still wear the Ring.

ring

It’s not because I pine for her but because it reminds me every moment that if your heart is in the right place and you have just a little luck, the universe will give you what you need.

And it looks cool.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel of Hippie in Heels May 12, 2014 at 3:48 am

That is such a cute story; I hope fate brings you two back together (minus the bickering)
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Karen May 12, 2014 at 10:34 am

It’s always sad when two people in love fall apart. I wish you both happiness in love and travel nonetheless. Cheers!
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wes May 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

Thanks, Karen. It always works out — sometime just not the way we want ;)

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Selma May 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm

What a love story! Too bad it didn’t work out in the end, but at the time you popped the question, it must have been such a romantic time for the two of you…!
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Miriam of Adventurous Miriam May 13, 2014 at 1:32 am

A great writer *and* a romantic. You’ll make a woman very happy someday.

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Jonathan Look, Jr. May 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm

In the end it is only the moments that we have. You can’t lose a future that didn’t happen. Glad to see you still treasure the moment.
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wes May 27, 2014 at 9:30 am

“You can’t lose a future that didn’t happen.” I’m totally stealing that.

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Ryan May 19, 2014 at 7:16 pm

What a wild love story my friend, didn’t see that coming but Krabi seems like a perfect place as any to propose. Bummer it didn’t work out but seems like it was for the best like you stated in the end. Pretty badass ring too!
Ryan recently posted..How Thailand’s new visa regulations forced me to leave, and why I may not return.My Profile

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Francesco Bassi June 23, 2014 at 4:28 am

Your first picture on this blog was enough to convince me to go Krabi! This blog was not your typical happy ending but in truth what you said in the end seems like you made the best of the situation and enjoyed what was around you.

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Uma November 23, 2014 at 5:48 am

It certainly has an interesting life story attached to it … and as you said, it looks damn cool!
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