portion of the artwork for Mary Lynn Reed's story

This Is Not a Sad Story
Mary Lynn Reed

She arrived wearing a half-dozen rings on fingers, thumbs, even a pinkie.

I have a large collection, she says. Wedding bands bought from thrift shops, exchanged by other couples, buried somewhere in the white linen past.

She can wear anything and make it look natural. A full-body flight suit. Combat boots. An evening gown.

When we met it wasn’t legal for us to marry. That wasn’t the biggest problem.

She’s in transit now, from one life to another. She carries a large parcel of jewelry. We store it in an upstairs closet, for the weekend.

I wrote a story once, about thieves and dreams and death and waiting. So many stories about waiting.

Wedding bands are savings accounts you secure with your body, she says. Gold and silver can always be turned into quick cash, if needed.

I picture the couples at their altars, exchanging vows. Years later, their rings in a Goodwill display case, catching her eye. I see it all in sepia tone.

It took a few days before she showed me the blue sapphire on the platinum band. She tells me she designed this ring herself. I don’t try it on, like I do the others.

When I wake in the middle of the night, I slide my arm across her stomach and she folds into my embrace. We are warm and content and I worry I may never write another story.

At dinner, I take one of the gold bands off her finger and slip it onto mine. We look for the inscription. She takes each ring off and we read them aloud.

There are so many things I’m not telling you. Things that would make great stories.

When she gets ready to leave we stand in my driveway and kiss. The sun is shining. The dog wags his tail.

This is not a story about waiting.

Some nights I dream of the blue sapphire. The weekend it spent in my closet.

This is not a story about dreams.

She has a safe deposit box in her new hometown. It is two-person controlled and very large. She calls it a casket.

This is not a story about thieves.

We have two houses in two states and we drive back and forth and we are gentle with each other.

There are new stories to write. With all my love, forever, I am sure of it.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 50 | Fall/Winter 2017