The Ring

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Memories For Sale.”

On a weekend road trip, far away from home, you stumble upon a garage sale in a neighborhood you’re passing through. Astonished, you find an object among the belongings for sale that you recognize. Tell us about it.

It had been a long time since we all just hopped in the car and drove with no particular destination in mind. As it turns out, we all really needed some distance and a change in scenery because we were too burnt out from our busy days with work, school, local news events, etc.

“Which direction?” I asked.

G’s voice broke the silence. “Let’s let Abe decide,” he said, holding up a penny so I could see it in my rear view mirror. “Heads, we go left and tails, we go right.” He flipped the coin every time we reached a point where we had to make a decision and, somehow, we wound up on the Interstate, heading East.

For every exit ramp we came upon, we flipped the coin. Heads, we stayed on, tails, we took the exit. What was strange was that the coin dictated that we stay on the Interstate until we’d crossed two State lines…and then, the next exit was “the one”. “Guess we’re not going to Florida then,” B said, making everyone laugh.

Once off the Interstate, the coin took us through some really pretty old neighborhoods that were lined with trees and lovely old homes. Just a block from the coast, several of the neighbors on a single street were hosting a neighborhood yard sale event. It almost looked like a neighborhood flea market.

For some reason, I felt a tug and pulled into a parking spot not far from the first house on the block. My daughter groaned. “Oh mum, you’re not SERIOUS are you?” Her brother looked even less thrilled.

“Oh, come on, guys,” B said. “You might just find something good that someone else doesn’t want anymore. Like a used console or something.”

G nudged my son’s arm. “What if we find an X-box nobody wants anymore? Dude!” Annnd my son was now smiling, sold on G’s revelation.

Stretching our legs was a relief and, fortunately, it wasn’t that hot out.

We moved from house to house, table to table, never drifting very far from each other. There were many quality treasures to be had; B and G were both adept at the art of price haggling, which was part of the fun of browsing yard sales.

My daughter spotted something interesting at a table a few yards away and ran ahead. I was looking at a few antique-y looking photo frames, when B nudged me. “I think your lovely daughter’s trying to get your attention.”

We walked over to her, noting that there were tears in her eyes. “What’s wrong, baby?” I asked.

She brought forth her hand and opened up her clenched fist to reveal a very familiar ring. “Is it, mum? Is it yours?”

I blinked as I took it from her and inspected it. “Oh my God…” There, on the inside of the ring ~ C L M. I looked at the date  etched below the stone ~ 1982, except the “2” hadn’t been properly formed because it looked more like an “8”. For the first time in several years, I was holding my class ring that had been out of my possession, the ring that I’d so desperately wanted back.

A voice from behind us said, “Can I help you?”

I turned around and said, “This came from your table?”

The woman nodded. “My husband found it at some flea market in New Orleans and thought it looked interesting, so he bought it. Turns out, we just didn’t know what to do with it, so…do you like it?”

“It’s mine.”

“Yours?” she asked in surprise. “Are you from New Orleans?”

I nodded and told her the story and how, despite my best ~ unsuccessful ~ efforts to get it back, I hadn’t give up hope. By the time I was finished, she was tearing up herself.

At the same time, B and G stepped forward and asked, in unison, “How much do you want for it?”

The woman shook her head. “No, no. I can’t charge you for it. It’s yours. Take it. Just hearing your story and knowing that you have it back is payment enough.”

I hugged her in appreciation and thanked her profusely for her kindness and compassion…and walked back to the car, without going back for the frames I wanted. I didn’t need those anymore. Although we’d each bought a few wonderful things as a reminder of our road trip, the joy of getting my ring back was what made the trip worthwhile.

{Note: This is fiction. To those who know the real story about my class ring: please keep the details out of the comments. This is just something I felt inspired to write from a blog prompt and I still live in hope that I’ll get my ring back.)

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