I had a decent day yesterday—some might even call it a fine day. A good day? I’ll even say that.
But first there was panic. It was early, still dark out, and I was leaving to go write at Starbucks before work when, as usual, I went to reach into the little blue ceramic holder on the table to get my ring. We have identical titanium rings, E and I, his with my name inscribed on the inside, mine with his. When we’re not wearing them we keep them in this little holder, mainly because I tend to lose things and it’s good to keep an important item in one place. For over a decade we didn’t have any physical object to proclaim that we’re together, which I thought was good: I couldn’t lose it. Now that I’ve had this ring I’ve been paranoid about misplacing it ever since. In less than a year I have: 1) lost it in a glove; 2) lost it while drying my hands in a restroom and had to—I kid you not—search through the garbage to find it; 3) caught it mere seconds before it fell down a sink drain. So I suppose you can say it’s a miracle I’ve held onto it this long. I mean, shouldn’t we have gotten tattoos instead?
Anyway, so I reach in to the ceramic holder where it usually is… to find only one ring. I hold it up to the light to inspect the inside: it says “nova”—it’s his ring, not mine. So where’s mine? I immediately search my gloves; not there. I search my coat pockets; not there. I search the chair on which my coat is sitting; not there. I search my bag, the floor beneath the chair, the whole floor, the kitchen—because why not—I search my gloves again, my coat pockets again, my bag again. I start to panic. E is asleep in the bedroom. What will he do when he wakes up and finds out I lost the ring? It is not symbolic, I will not let it be symbolic, but I HAVE TO FIND IT, and now.
I think at this point I was muttering out loud to myself.
I realized I had to search the bedroom. I didn’t want to turn the light on and wake E, so where was the flashlight? I couldn’t remember. I stepped into the bedroom. How was I going to search in the dark?
Then a voice. E called groggily from high up in the loft bed: “What are you looking for?”
And that instant is when I saw the ring, a glint of light from the window showed it just beside me, on the gray dresser, sitting innocuously on a box. How had it gotten there? WHY did I put it there? I have no memory. But I grabbed it, shoved it on my finger, and breathed the deepest sigh of relief. “I found it,” I told E, but he had already fallen back asleep.
The day just went uphill from there:
* I walked outside into the mist—it must have just finished raining—and the lights turned to Walk whenever I approached a corner.
* The good barista was working that morning, she who makes the best mochas in the entire city.
* I found a spot at my favorite table.
* I started typing and out came lines and pieces of a new story. It came out all out of order, and I didn’t force myself to follow any rules. It was thrilling!
* At work no one called or emailed or came by to pressure me about some project or other that they needed and that my department was holding up. No one bothered me at all.
* At the local lunch place there was my favorite potato leek soup.
* And at the end of the day, I realized I had finished more work than I even expected. No longer were there huge piles on my table or in my inbox. No longer did I look across at the load of work waiting for me and feel that uncontrollable urge to hide under the desk. I emailed my boss to tell her to come by and see. The last moment of the day we stood there, gazing at the practically empty expanse of the copyediting table. “I’m so happy for you,” she said. She knows how stressed I’ve been. I kept standing there, shaking my head and smiling. “I feel like I’ve finally caught up,” I said.
So there you have it: I found my ring. I wrote. I had soup. I did all my work. Sometimes it’s the small things that make a good day.