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Rings is rated PG, according to my standards.
Rings, by Deanna Schrayer
He was okay until he saw the indents on her fingers where her rings had been, the rings he’d never seen her without. Until now.
Denver saw those lines and recalled the day – when he was ten-years-old – that he and his father had chopped down the old oak threatening to flatten their home. When the tree hit the ground they ran to it. His father had circled the rings inside the trunk with his sun-browned finger and told Denver that’s how you knew the tree’s age: by counting the rings.
There were four white lines where the rings had circled Ronni’s tawny index and ring fingers. He thought of the different lives she had lived in her thirty-eight years on this earth. Was the ghost of the first ring the life she spent as a child, growing up happy and not wanting for anything? The second as a young adult when she rebelled and left home, becoming absorbed in her drug and alcohol habits; the third ring her life after she’d met Denver and settled down, building a family with him almost immediately?
The fourth ring was nearly transparent. Denver felt grateful for that paleness as, finally, the first tear slid down his cold cheek, rolled off his chin and splashed onto the gleaming white casket that held his wife’s body.