I’m looking at gold earrings at Nordstrom Rack, wondering if my daughter will want a big statement piece to go with the black dress she just tried on. Actually, I’m wondering where my daughter went – distracted by the crop tops and hoodies, no doubt.
“Oh no!” I hear from behind a jewelry rack. “This ring is stuck on my finger.” A woman walks toward an employee, explaining that she tried a ring on, and it fit, but now it won’t come off.
“The tag is trapping it on my finger!”
She keeps trying to get the ring off, and I can’t ignore her. So I warn her not to tug too much, and I tell her that cold water might help.
“Or Windex,” the employee says and they walk away. I hear the woman tell him that I told her not to tug too much.
My daughter shows up and we look at some earrings together – she does not want big statement earrings but picks a perfect pair of sparkly gold dangles. These earrings will go with whichever dress she ends up wearing next Friday.
The woman walks back into the jewelry section and I have to ask her if she got the ring off and if her finger is okay. I can’t help but be curious. She says her finger is fine.
“I had to make sure you didn’t keep tugging,” I find myself saying to this stranger, “On my honeymoon, my husband tugged so much on his wedding ring that his finger swelled up this much!” I hold my fingers around my now empty ring finger, remembering his ring finger impossibly ballooned, remembering him tugging and tugging on it and lathering it in the bathroom of the Calistoga cottage we were staying at.
“I mean, we are divorced now,” I add quietly because it feels odd to be talking about my honeymoon even to this stranger.
She doesn’t hear me. “Oh my God!” she says. “I mean, wow! Did that like raise any red flags for you?”
I laugh and nod my head. “Nope. It probably should have though!”
“You’re still married, right?” She asks.
“Actually we just divorced this year.” I explain.
“Oh, what happened? Were there signs along the way that it was a mistake?”
I look and notice my daughter still standing behind the earring rack and I snigger.
“Alright!” I say and nod and laugh once again. “You just want to jump right into it!”
I give some sort of explanation that includes how it was of course not a mistake, because how can decades be a mistake and I have my three beautiful children. She talks about her boyfriend who she is set to move in with soon, and become a blended family.
” I love him,” she says, “of course I love him. I just also really love my own space, the bed all to myself, quiet mornings with my coffee…”
“Set up some boundaries right from the start,” I advise like some sort of relationship coach, “plan times that you know you will get to yourself so it doesn’t become an issue later.”
It’s her turn to nod. “That’s a good idea!”
At some point, I introduce my daughter, and explain how she is trying to decide if she should buy this fancy dress, or wear the simple one she already has.
“Oh! Buy it. Definitely buy it. You can always return it later,” is the advice we get, and then, “You know, I’m a spiritual person, religious maybe, you could say, and I really think everything happens for a reason. There’s a plan. Just be patient during this time.”
I assure her I know – when one door opens another one opens and all that (although it’s an awfully long hallway…) and we say goodbye.
My daughter and I walk to the checkout smiling and shaking our heads.
“We’ll most likely never see her again, and we don’t even know her name,” we laugh, “She was like the Nordstrom Rack Angel!”