The inscription inside said it all.
Everyone could see that me and Mike were devoted to each other.
We could hardly wait until we could afford to marry.
We saved hard. It took us three years but finally we named the day. We were both so happy. My wedding ring meant so much to me.
It broke my heart when I was forced to sell it.
We could not afford a new wedding ring so we planned on buying a forfeited pledge ring from the pawnshop. As a surprise Mike secured a bank loan and bought a new ring. Mike had the word, “Love” inscribed inside.
I was anxious, knowing we really couldn’t afford a new wedding ring, but it was so lovely. I forgave Mike for being so extravagant.
We were living with my mum until we could afford a place of our own. One day the door bell rang. It was Mr Johnson, Mike’s boss, “Hello Mrs Fry, can I come in?
I knew from his expression that something had happened.
I whispered, “What’s wrong, is it Mike?”
Mr Johnson stepped into the hall, “I’m sorry Mrs Fry, there has been an accident. Mike has been injured. He was rushed to hospital. I’ll drive you there.”
It was as if Mr Johnson wasn’t talking to me. I was living a nightmare. Perhaps there had been a mistake. Perhaps it wasn’t Mike.
The journey to the hospital took forever. I went through to the casualty department. The nurse in charge told me that Mike had been admitted. He was under sedation. There may be internal damage. They were doing tests.
I just couldn’t take it all in. I felt faint. I allowed myself a few minutes rest. I resolved to prepare myself. I had to be strong.
The Ward Sister told me that Mike was comfortable. The test results had arrived and the doctor would like to see me straight away. I prepared myself for the worst.
The doctor looked up from his notes, “Mrs Fry? The tests indicate no internal injuries. Your pleased, I’m sure”.
That was the most under, understatement, I have ever heard.
“Can I take him home with me now?” I said eagerly.
The doctor smiled, “Well, not just yet. There is some femoral damage which will eventually heal. But I suspect Mr Fry will need, at least, six months of complete rest at home before he can even think of returning to work.”
I did not care how long it took, I was just so pleased that Mike was going to be OK.
Within a week Mike was home. The hugs I gave him were better than any medicine. They were good for me too.
I had prepared the front room for him. The bed was set up opposite the window. I had rented the latest remote control TV and placed it at the foot of the bed. Mike loved watching his football.
I did not care about the cost. I gave Mike expensive high protein food. I kept the heating on day and night. The hospital said that I should make sure Mike did not get a chill. With a long period of inactivity there was always a risk of chest infection.
The expense was beginning to use up our savings, and of course I didn’t have Mike’s pay.
Soon we were broke. I was determined to provide for Mike the same as before. I began to sell things. First it was my watch and charm bracelet. Then my gold locket. The money I made from the sale did not last long.
I began to fall behind on my monthly payments. Letters began to arrive requesting rental charges for Mikes TV. I had no money for the gas bill. We were threatened with disconnection.
Of course, I didn’t tell Mike about our money problems.
Finally, there was only one thing of value left for me to sell. The next morning I walked into the pawn shop. I took my wedding ring from my finger. It was the first time I had removed it since Mike placed it there as we stood at the altar.
I almost choked as I said, “ How much will you give me for this? I don’t want to pawn it. I need to sell.”
The pawnbroker examined my precious wedding ring, “Well, it’s certainly of good quality - twenty two carat. I’m afraid the inscription greatly reduces the value, though, difficult to sell, you see. I can only offer one hundred pounds.”
I wanted to snatch back my wedding ring and run from the shop but I was desperate. I had no choice but to accept.
The next day the man from the TV shop called to repossess the TV. I begged him for more time to pay. He offered to wait another week, but no longer. I knew I would not have the money by then. I just hoped for a miracle.
When mum came home she could tell I had been crying, “ What’s the matter Dear? What’s happened?”
I explained everything. How I had spent all our savings buying the best of everything for Mike and how I had even sold all I had, including my wedding ring at the pawnshop.
Mum sat down beside me, “Oh dear, why on earth didn’t you say something before? Now, you mustn’t worry, everything will be OK. You go and sit with Mike and leave everything to me.”
A week went by. I hadn’t managed to send any money to the TV shop. I was sitting in the front room with Mike. He was sleeping. From the window, I could see our front path. I was expecting to see the TV man pull up in his van.
How was I to explain the missing TV to Mike. I would have to tell him all about our money problems. He would begin to worry. It would make him ill again.
I was leaning over Mike, fluffing his pillows, when I heard a car stop outside. “This is it”, I thought. No more hiding things. I walked slowly to the front door.
I saw mum climbing out of a taxi. She beamed a big smile, “ Everything’s fixed. There’s no need for you to worry anymore.”
As mum led me into the kitchen, she said, “ I told you I would think of something, didn’t I?”.
“But what have you done mum?, have you won the lottery or something?”
Mum laughed, “Well, almost. I cashed in my life policy”.
“Oh, mum, you shouldn’t have. That policy was for your old age”.
Mum smiled, “ Don’t you worry yourself about my old age my Dear, all your problems are solved. I’ve paid off your bank loan. I’ve paid a visit to the TV shop. The TV man won’t be calling. I’ve bought the set outright. It belongs to you and Mike now. And guess what?, there is still enough left over to see us through until Mike is well enough to return to work.”
Mum held out her clenched hand. Slowly, she opened it, “ And finally, Dear, this is for you. You can take off your imitation wedding ring now”.
There, in mum’s hand, was my wedding ring. She had bought it back for me. I took mum’s hand and looked at my precious ring.
Through my tears I saw the inscription, “Love”
The pawnbroker was wrong. The inscription inside had not reduced the value of my wedding ring . It had made it priceless.
Author Notes: Please comment.