Two golden rings

I lost a gold earring today.

Or rather, I’d lost it a while ago and only today, after searching everywhere it could possibly be, I resigned myself to admitting it was gone.

The loss is devastating.

Not just because it was a hundred and twenty-five or so USD of 24k gold.

Not just because I’d lost it while brain fogged and there’s a niggling rage-filled self query of “does this mean brain-fogged people just don’t deserve to have nice things?”.

But because I’d bought the earrings for myself when I’d moved back to Taiwan.

24k gold not just because I have sensitive ears that tend to react badly to other metals, but because there is a symbolism there.

I wanted a pair of golden rings because the last time I’d believed someone was sincere in promising me love, faith, and forever, they’d lied.

Not only did he lie, but he tore apart his lies in such a humiliating fashion.

I wanted to say “in the most humiliating fashion possible”, but no, to be fair, waiting fruitlessly at the courthouse or altar would’ve been much worse.

So it’s near a decade back.

The nameless chronic illness was getting worse, the medical bills costing the earth but saying nothing useful, and I was staring down disability even as I tried to stay sunk in denial.

I was living with C in a rented room with two other housemates and I was completely afogged as to the path ahead.

Or even if there was one.

You see, C had been reassuring me for years that he loved me, that he was sincere in promising marriage and forever.

But, oddly, he never managed to make it out to Framingham to meet my parents in person and ask for my hand in marriage.

At first he claimed scheduling conflicts. For years he claimed this.

And because I believed his professions of love, I let the red flags pile up.

Then, when I really couldn’t lie to myself anymore, I pointed out that emails and phones existed and he could contact my parents that way.

Then it was “this is the sort of thing done in person” and then when “in person” kept not happening, he started complaining about how “asking permission to marry” was so outdated and ridiculously pandering to the patriarchy.

I said I didn’t much care what the terms were, but if he was sincere in getting married, then he ought to at least inform my parents that plans were actively being made for it to be A Thing.

Things dragged on and dragged on and dragged on.

At that point, I didn’t have enough spoons to really deal with all of it.

I was staring down disability and the collapse of the life I wanted and thought would be there for me.

Mostly alone. Because ableism. And because I knew deep down that I wouldn’t find the support I needed from the person who claimed to love me best.

The final straw came when one night, when I was sick and running a fever, he decided he was going to go to the birthday party of someone I thought we weren’t on friendly terms with rather than coming home.

I never claim to be anything less dense than osmium, but there was absolutely no ignoring that statement.

So the next chance I got, I met him after work and pulled him into a ring shop.

Where upon he decided the course of action was to sneer at the shop assistant, who, poor man, thought we were a happy couple looking for engagement rings.

After being unforgivably rude to the shop assistant, he proceeded to berate me, right in the ring store, about buying into patriarchal artifacts, and how he was oh-so-disappointed in my lack of modern sense.

Well, that showed me.

That showed me well and good.

Last clump of dirt firmly on the grave of my hopes and desired future, I started making plans to move to Taiwan.

There was no way I could afford to stay in the US between my inability to work a “normal” job and the mounting medical bills.

C claimed he was happy to support me because I’d supported him (for years), but that lie was completely laughable after what he’d done.

It didn’t matter that I hadn’t lived in Taiwan pretty much ever except for two brief years in elementary school.

It didn’t matter that my entire life was in the US.

It didn’t matter that I pretty much didn’t know anyone in Taiwan except my parents.

I couldn’t survive there, not anymore.

I had to leave behind my entire social circle, almost all of my belongings, all of the things I’d hopefully and loving collected for a future now shattered.

The future I thought I was moving towards wasn’t the only thing shattered.

Ground to dust along with all the other illusions was faith and trust.

I didn’t trust myself to know people anymore. I’d placed my love and trust in so many people who turned out to be unworthy, who found me worthless without my realizing it in more than a decade.

I didn’t believe in promises any longer. Pale words, all of it, and no way to known what was credible and what wasn’t.

I didn’t believe in my own worth, because I’d had most of my social circle ditch me the moment I wasn’t there to be “useful”.

I thought I couldn’t see a way through to a future I wanted before, but then…

Then, I couldn’t see a future at all.

So the first thing I did when I recovered a bit was to buy myself that pair of gold earrings.

A pair of gold rings, from me to myself.

Because even though it was a horribly extravagant purchase for someone with no income and no prospects of one, I wanted to tell that terribly humiliated young woman standing in the ring shop, being told that her promise of marriage wasn’t worth a few hundred dollars…

I think you’re worth it.

I think you’re worth everything, even if I can’t afford to give you everything.

Here, however, are two rings of pure gold.

With this ring, I thee promise.

Protection and love.

Hope and faith.

And now I’ve lost that bit of symbolism.

I’m not sure where to go from here.

Once again I’m adrift, lost as to where to go next.

I can’t afford another pair.

Even if I could, I shouldn’t.

Gold prices are up and it would be a lot of money for …what?

I’d done the symbolism once before already, even if I didn’t fully believe it then, judging from the grief I’m sunk in now.

But a part of me doesn’t want to say no to that want.

Even if it’s unreasonable I still haven’t healed from that (admittedly volcanic) rejection, years and years ago.

Perhaps I will, for my birthday next year.

Perhaps I won’t.

Perhaps the gift I’ll be able to give myself instead, will be a final release of that old betrayal.

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