Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I dug through my purse yesterday while looking for a pen and found something interesting. I'd already read the Asheville paper from front to back in the doctor's waiting room and decided to tackle the crossword and soduko. I'm pretty good at crosswords, but soduku still eludes me. I can't resist trying, though, when my mind is idle. It's hard for me to keep my mind still.
I pulled forth from the detritus of inhalers, chewing gum, old bank stubs and dog medicines a dollar bill. It was frayed and worn and had odd fold marks on it. I didn't remember when it was handed to me in change, but I must have just stuffed it in there as I sometimes do.
On the bill was written, "Percy Johnson's Wedding Ring". Then, winding around the edge of the bill, it continued, "Given to him by his mother on the day she buried him."
It took me a moment to digest what I was looking at. Where it came from and the implications that I was now holding this piece of paper in my hands.
I know that valuable things disappear from corpses, but it's not the sort of thing I like to think about. And you never really see the evidence so clearly as I did yesterday, smoothed out over my thigh as I read what she had written before placing it in her son's casket.
I've, of course, changed the name here. Because someone's mother is out there mourning her child, thinking the wedding ring she wrapped in a dollar bill and put in his pocket lays beneath the tombstone she visits each Sunday.
I wonder what happened to that ring. Does someone wear it now, not knowing I hold the dollar bill it was wrapped in?
Labels: true story