Yes, I received your letter and the enmity enclosed. And yes, it has accomplished what you probably supposed. I here enclose your photograph. I have no further need of it. If I want to end the grieving, I must dispose of the seed of it.
I’m burning all your letters and crumbling your dried roses, disposing of your paintings of me in different poses. I’m in need of no mementos to bring you back again. I need no souvenirs to remember all the pain.
These ashes are the lovelock you asked me for that night. I found it in your pillowcase the morning of our fight. Its cremated remains were easiest to send. They are so easily scattered to signify our end.
The prompt words today are letter, enmity, photograph and accomplish.
I had taken off my wedding ring years before. How typical of me that I would finally put it on again after he died. I don’t know why I do these things. Perhaps it was easier to be married to a dead man, or perhaps I felt he had finally atoned for his bad behavior, but suddenly that symbol had more significance than it had come to have in life. That sainthood of departure? I’d seen it happen again and again, but I had never been one to run with the pack and so it surprised me so much when I looked down one day and saw his ring on my finger again that I took it off and it has resided in my jewelry box ever since—that hinged red leather lips-shaped jewelry box that opens in a kiss to reveal a little slit-compartment for rings. A next-door-neighbor of my childhood had brought it as a hostess gift when she came to Mexico to visit me during that long year after his death when everyone came out of the woodwork to come visit.
Draw a ring around the old. Ring in the new in multiples. Duplication has become such a science—the craftsman thrown out of the ring. With the new three-dimensional copier, what cannot be duplicated, if plastic is your creation material of choice? A plastic gun—complete down to the bullet in its chamber. A perfect functioning model of anything with moving parts. Can each grain of gunpowder be duplicated? One ringie dingie, two ringie dingies. Floating away on the surface of the lake of forget. Is that giving up? Ringing the final buzzer? Burning the evidence in a ring of fire? Burning bridges? A phone rings and rings in the distance. It has that ring of authenticity, but that does not mean it is real.
Ring of thieves. One by one, the days steal my life away. Time is that one thing no one has control over—even Einstein or Hawking, who perhaps understood it more than anyone. Estee Lauder, Timex, Time Incorporated—all profit by time but none have conquered it. We are all in the ring with it whether we know it or not. Others may suffer the black eyes or sound the buzzer, but we are all really fighting the same fight. The smoothest face still wrinkles and the most beautiful voice cracks with age or disappears. Buzzers finally go silent and the arms holding up the signs go saggy. Ring around the rosie. Ring around the rosie. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
This is a rewite of an essay originally written three years ago. The prompt today was finally.