July 21, 2007

THIS ONE MIGHT MAKE YOU BARF

Or you might find it endearing. Either way, it could be one of the most saccharine-sweet stories you’ll ever read from a coupla muscle bears.

First, some background: Many many years ago, I bought Boyfriend Bill a sterling silver signet ring for his birthday. A couple of months later he bought me one for mine. It hadn’t any particular significance at the time. We just thought it would be nice to exchange symbols of our friendship.

It turns out we were building a relationship that’s lasted a lifetime. Who knew?

Today’s story begins on vacation in Provincetown on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Bill thought it was time for a ring upgrade. Crackerjack shopper that he is, he found just the bands for us at a trendy little shop on Commercial Street.

But alas, they had to be ordered from Switzerland and mailed to our home in Montreal. In the meantime, we decided we’d start to wear our old signet rings on the traditional wedding-ring finger, where the new rings would eventually live (up 'til then they'd been on a middle finger). Never mind the fit wasn’t quite as snug as it should have been: It was just short-term, until the new ones arrived from Europe.


Late that afternoon we cycled out to the shore at Herring Cove, after the masses had left for t-dance. We prefer an abandoned beach. The tide was rising and the water rough, just the way we like it.

As we splashed about - and, come to think of it, this was entirely predictable - the ill-fitting signet ring slipped off my finger and sunk into the turbulent waters of the Bay. Shit.

We figured it had to be laying mere inches from where I was standing, but we could neither see nor feel it, as much as we squinted in the salt water and groped around in the sand and sludge.

It was gone. I was distraught. We were crushed.

Right then, we had a Harold and Maude moment,
recalling when Harold gives his elderly beloved one a token inscribed “Harold loves Maude” at the seaside amusement park. Maude admires it, saying it’s the loveliest gift she’s received in years. Then she tosses it into the ocean with the pledge “So I’ll always know where it is”.

Possession of just one of the old rings between us seemed awkward and unbalanced. We knew what had to happen next.

We stood close together in the frigid waters. Silently, we looked into each other’s eyes, tears welling. Half a minute passed before Bill said quietly, “It’s gone”.

We like to think of our old signet rings resting together, somewhere in the Atlantic. And we’ll always know where they are, romantic goons that we are.

10 comments:

Mike said...

Now I'm getting all misty-eyed. You guys look hot. And I love Provincetown. Can't think of a nicer place to lose your rings.

Anonymous said...

yes.. in office, full tears. thanks. lol.

JimmyJames in Toronto

evilganome said...

Okay, I got a little sick, but it's a great story. Also, Rene who owns Century is Canadian, so..... anyway, it sounds like a very romantic moment and say hi to Rene for me.

TedBear said...

A beautiful post. Thank you.

We had something like that happen to us a few months ago. I cried too.

My Overeducated Redneck was given a very nice watch at graduation. The O.R. doesn't really care about material things. He wore the watch, but it wasn't a big deal to him, and let me borrow it for big meetings. The watch gave me confidence. My Dad is a mechanic. I am the beneficiary of a great education and I needed the watch to make me feel like I belong. I needed that lifestyle prop to overcome insecurities about my background with the big boys. The O.R. understood that, when I didn't see it in myself. I wore the watch more and more. Eventually the watch became mine.

About five years later, I started making real money, and bought the O.R. a watch just like the one I "borrowed" from him. I was so happy I could finally afford to give him what he gave me. We each had the same engraved watch.

In April 2007, my college roommate Brenda called and asked if we wanted to join her in St. John USVI for a long weekend. My Overeducated Redneck of 22 years was on call and couldn't find anyone to trade at the last minute.

I used airmiles, and joined Brenda at Caneel Bay in St. John USVI. We did beach time, snorkel time, lazy time. I wore my watch. It was fine. It is waterproof to 1000 feet.

The next day, Caneel Bay arranged for us to join a Scuba diving charter. Scuba is much deeper than snorkeling. Of course, I wore my watch. We just went 30-100 feet of water. Nothing deep. The watch was working fine.

When we got back to Caneel Bay, I noticed fog on the watch crystal.

I was bummed, and knew it could be fixed. We were flying home the next day.

When we were back home, I took the watch in for repair. The watchmaker opened it up, and said, too late. The movement is rusted. I teared up a little in the watch shop, and the watchmaker kindly explained that if you dive with the watch, the watch must have a new seal every 12 months. It had been two years since the last cleaning, the seal was weak, and broke under pressure. The watch was ruined.

I was devastated.

I had always guarded the watch so carefully. It had been all over the world on business trips. Every time I looked at it I thought of my wonderful funny Overeducated Redneck at home. Many people had admired the watch. It was a very nice lifestyle prop.

In the back of my mind, I was stupidly superstitious that if something happened to the watch then something might happen to my relationship with the O.R.

The O.R. came home from the office, and I told him the news. I was teary eyed. I told him my silly fears which I knew were not true and would never be true. He smiled and hugged me. I was teary, and he was teary because I was.

The watches were like wedding rings for us. The O.R. knew it bothered me not to wear the same watch, and he stopped wearing it.

Of course the Overeducated Redneck didn't care about the watch. His feelings about me are alway in his heart, not on his sleeve.

Christmas is coming, and I know what the present will be. This time, there won't be any silly superstition lingering in the back of my mind. The watch is just a symbol. A great lifestyle prop, but just a symbol of what is really in my heart.

TankMontreal said...

guys: I'm instantly in love with men in touch with their sensitive side. Hugs to you all.

tedbear: Super story. I particularly plugged into "I was teary, and he was teary because I was". This is so me.

It triggers the memory of something that happened between Bill and I maybe a month ago. I'll need his permission to blog about it though. Until then, know there's at least one other couple in a very long-term thing that's connected the way you are with Overeducated Redneck.

RG said...

The sun, the sand and heart-strings tugging story. This made my Friday afternoon. I wonder if I can get my new Personal Trainer to come to the beach with me?

TankMontreal said...

rg: The sense I get from your blog is that Personal Trainer is putty in your hands as long as you treat him to 90 minutes of your manual magic. Never underestimate the power of a good massage...

michael sean morris said...

Yeah, even cynical old me got a tear from that.

rangergeek said...

You adorable sentimentalists.

BigAssBelle said...

oh, what a great, sweet, precious story. and i love the picture. and your beau looks like that hot tom calicchio on top chef.