Despite what had been reported in other blogs, I am not yet engaged. I am not disengaged, but actual ring-fingered engagement, like a wild and shy beast, eludes my outstretched hand. I stand on the brink of betrothal, under the lintel of affiancing, on the periphery of plighting my troth, as does my boyfriend, who, I suppose, upon fruition of said espousal, will cross the utopian terrain from being merely my boyfriend to being my Intended, my Betrothed, my Affianced, my Husband-To-Be.
A little over a week ago, my boyfriend Donny and I met with Barbara Klar, a jewelry designer of my choosing, to find our rings. It was an experience in equal strange measure both low key and surreal. Donny and I, along with DaisyDukes and La Stonée who were with us on Fire Island, met Barbara at an Arts and Crafts sale on Ocean Beach. The sun blazed. Girls in little dresses over their damp bikinis strolled by licking ice cream cones. MILFs chased nugget-brown children. It was a parade of cleavage. There were men too, some round and hirsute as baby bears, others smooth and glossy as porpoises.
Standing still among the ambling crowd, Barbara and I tried ring after ring on the third finger of my left hand. We talked metals and we discussed gems. Donny, for the most part, stood about ten feet away in the shade of an overhang; he observed us detachedly and came when I beckoned him and gave his opinion when he had one. It was, very clearly, my show. I did have one moment, poignant and raw as much as it was quotidian and pragmatic, when I slipped a ring on Donny’s finger for his approval. The ring, white gold and hammered, slid easily over the knuckle of his left ring finger, and as it did we locked eyes. We kissed, and it felt a bit like a public rehearsal for that as-yet undiscovered moment when we will become husband and wife.
I found a ring I love, or I found an idea for a ring I love, for the ring doesn’t exist anywhere quite yet. It’s a lot like my marriage in that respect, as well as in others. I am more able to hold the ring in my head than I am my marriage. Holding my marriage in my head feels just too big. It’s like the way I feel about the cosmos. When I consider the billions and billions and billions of stars, I am cowed, weighed down in the sheer vastness of its expanding space, its unfathomed immensity. But if I concentrate on one star, one singular bright object pinned like a butterfly against the velvet of the night, I find am not so small, I find I’m large enough to contain it, and with it, the magnitude it represents. My engagement ring is the single star to the great cosmos of my marriage.
Walking back to the beach house with my boyfriend, Daisy and La Stoner walking ahead of us, Donny said, “I really like your ring.” That was it, the only time he offered up his tacit excitement for our marriage, this wild thing that appears to be swelling beneath us like a wave. I know my boyfriend well enough to hear all the unspoken emotions embodied in those five words, and yet being who I am, I can’t also help but wish for grand poems of emotional largess, even as much as I also don’t trust words (an irony perhaps for a writer). These five words of Donny’s are enough.
Later that night, or perhaps the next afternoon, as my boyfriend fingered me, his lips locked to my clit like a tween-aged swain and his brace-toothed girlfriend, while his finger rummaged inside me like he was searching for some small precious and elusive object, I imagined feeling his ring on his finger. I imagined this piece of metal bumping against my g-spot, this welcome foreign object inside me, rubbing me raw. I imagined us wed, bound by law, sanctified by God and everyone else. Donny’s finger inside me, I imagined us married, and it felt good, very good indeed.