Library Home > Erma Bombeck Writing Competition > Winning Entries
My wedding band is missing a tiny diamond. I should probably get it fixed – perhaps even push for a flashier ring than what we could afford 15 years ago – but I haven’t. When I look at the gap where the diamond is supposed to be, I should probably be thinking about scheduling an appointment with the jeweler – but I’ve already cancelled twice. I should probably be thinking about repairing this flaw to the eternal symbol of my marriage. I should probably be thinking these things. But instead I think: Good riddance, you weak piece of rock. I know it’s the setting that somehow failed, not the diamond. One of nine tiny chips: not an elaborately-planned setting, but more of an afterthought. And a flaw in the design or its execution resulted in a weak bond that couldn’t bear some sort of strain I placed on it. But the surrounding diamonds are still firmly in place, so I blame the one that fell out. When I run my thumb over the rough spot where the diamond used to be it reminds me of the time it went missing – during the 15 long months my husband was deployed to the Balkans with the National Guard.I probably should have noticed when it happened. I might have lost it cleaning lawn mower blades. It might have fallen out when I was unloading 50-lb. bags of horse feed. It could have gotten caught on the washing machine, the swing set or the garage door – any number of things that fill the days around a farm, a child and a life. I probably should have stopped what I was doing to look for it. But every day was a struggle with my husband gone. I did not have time to chase after a weak thing that could not stay in its place. It was a pretty thing to be sure. But I did not have time for weak, pretty things. So I did not look and now it is lost somewhere in the gravel driveway or the barn or the sandbox.And I believe the ring is stronger for the loss. Much like I am stronger from the struggle. A piece may have fallen from its setting, but the ring did not break. And I did not break. When I look at my ring, I also think of my daughter and the story I will one day tell: Once upon a time when you were two and your daddy was gone, I discovered I was stronger than the diamond missing from that ring. Stronger than a diamond. The toughest natural material known to man.I should probably get it fixed. But I won’t.
Author's Bio:Kathleen Norman has worked for the past 15 years as a technical writer for Xerox Corporation. Her essay "Gravity" won the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition in 2007 in the Human Interest (Global) category.
All Library properties are tobacco-free environments.