My fingers are swollen more often than not, these days. I don't even attempt to put on my wedding ring in the morning, anymore. This is always a sad time for me during pregnancy. I luff my wedding ring!

Usually I'll wear it on a chain around my neck, but during my pregnancy with Daphne, the poor abused chain broke! So I've resorted to wearing a different ring on my ring-finger.

My Eternity ring - patterned after the one Joseph Smith had made and wore during his lifetime to illustrate the eternal nature of man.

I love this ring. It has had more than a few of its own adventures.
When I was at University one morning, I was walking through the student center on my way to the computer lab. There was a bridal fair going on in the common area. The event was gated off - only brides and their consorts were allowed entry - but if I stood on my tippy toes, I could peek displays of lush gowns, china settings, honeymoon trips, flower arrangements, etc. etc. 

I'd never been terribly into the whole 'fantasizing about my wedding' thing - but in that place on that morning, I HAD to get in there! I suspected it may have had something to do with the two girls I overheard at the store the night before. One of them actually said "Stacy is turning 22! And she doesn't even have a boyfriend! I swear, I will KILL myself if I'm not married by the time I'm 21!"

I was 24.

So I slipped my Eternity ring from my right-hand middle finger onto my left-hand ring-finger (the fit was awkward, and I hoped nobody would look too hard at it) and presented myself to the gatekeepers as a nervous and excited blushing bride.

The two women - middle aged with large hair and blue eyeshadow, both of them! - peered at me through their spectacles with total skepticism. I don't know what it is about the soon-to-wed that makes it apparent to the naked eye, but whatever they have - I didn't have it for sure. I didn't even have a boyfriend.

The gatekeeper on the right lifted her clipboard closer to her vision, and poised with her short pencil, asked, "when is your big day?"

Well, that could mean anything, right? I mean, a big day could be the purchase of a new outfit. Or a scheduled root canal. Or, in my case, a day that may or may not be bigger than the others. "Oh," I said as convincingly as I could, "we're thinking sometime in the summer. We haven't set an exact date, yet."

Because people did that, right?

The gatekeeper harrumphed at me, made a note on her clipboard, and handed me a ticket stub. "You enter the contest there," she said, pointing her painted finger toward a table with a large vase full of tickets. I thanked her and cautiously moved to the inside perimiter of the Forbidden Bridal Fair.

I had no idea what the contest was for, but I entered it!

I moved between the tables eyeing the goods, pretending that they might actually have anything to do with me. For one morning, it was gloriously good fun to be engaged. I imagined my fiance' in exquisite detail, and dropped little factoids about him every chance I got.

"What kind of flowers will you have?" asked one of the florists on site.

"Oh, I was thinking white callas (my fave) with perhaps some tiny blue gilias to match my fiance's big, blue eyes." Smile, nod, move on.

"What kind of tux will the men in your party be wearing?"

"Well, my fiance has this amazingly thick dark and curly hair, and I just think a top-hat would look divine on him."

(don't you love that I got exactly what I always wanted? A tall, dark curly haired, blue eyed boy?)

I stopped at the booth displaying all kinds of ornate china settings. I stared, willing myself to appreciate the splendor of a well crafted, extremely detailed dinner plate. I couldn't help it - all I wanted in my future dining hutch was a full set of pewter dinnerware! Matte finish, please.

"Do you like that set?" the pretty blonde woman behind the table asked me.

I carefully set it back on display. "Yes," I said. "it's lovely!"

"What kind of china are you and your fiance' looking for?"

I stared at her, open mouthed. Now I've done it. I allowed myself to think of what I actually wanted instead of what me and my Fake Mr. would want. I couldn't pull myself back into the charade fast enough, and I was standing there like a big non-engaged lump! The gig was up. I would be thrown out, and the two gatekeepers would beat me with their clipboards until I was forced to leave the building.

"Actually," I hazarded. "I've always been fond of pewter."

The blonde raised an eyebrow. "Really?"

"Yes," I said with a sigh. "Though I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have a set of fine china, also." I hastily looked up at the blonde, realizing I was probably insulting her and her vocation. "I mean, you know, for the extremely elegant occasions."

She smiled at me. "Right."

"Because, I mean, my mother has both pewter and fine china. And we always used the china more often. You know, for Christmas. And birthdays. Except I always wanted pewter on my birthday!" I laughed nervously. Too many details. Not enough moving on.

The blonde smiled at me, and pointed to an ornate bowl-vase filled with folded slips of paper. "If you'd like to enter our drawing, you could win the set you were looking at."

"Oh!" I said, relieved for an out. "Great!" I moved over to the vase, and began filling out my information. Only now I felt the full weight of my lie as I tried to fill out the information for my fake engagement. Fiance's name. Date of Ceremony.

I named him Perrin Mc-something (he was Irish, did I tell you?) and projected we'd tie the knot sometime in June. Everything else I left as undecided.

I retreated from the china table and quickly left the Bridal Fair. I grinned at the two gatekeepers as I passed them and headed, finally, to the computer lab where I hashed out the first draft of my research paper for my Literature in War class.

I hated that class.

Two days later, I received an email.

Congratulations, Ms. Card! Your name was drawn! You've won an entire set of our elegant china dinnerware, service for 8. Please contact us for arrangements.

I won.

I won the china.

Hundreds of dollars worth of formal dinnerware for me and my new husband to enjoy together in our BLATANT LIE!

I laughed at myself, and hastily wrote them an email reply:

"Thank you," I said. "I appreciate very much the opportunity to own such beautiful china. Unfortunately, things didn't work out for us. Please give the china to someone more deserving."

I hit "send" and stared at the screen of congratulations, again. I spun the Eternity ring on my finger (again on the middle, right hand) and smiled to myself.

Sure, I didn't get my china. But I still won! And it felt good, for a time, to play the part of the bubbly, over-excited, detail-driven bride.

And I prefer Pewter, anyway. (you should see my set!)


Ro Ro Riot said...

That is a very cool story. And it is so weird that you had to actually be engaged to go into the fair.

Rischelle said...

You crack me up!