It’s the second watch battery that has died in a month. And as the family’s errand girl, I get the privilege of dropping by Harold’s Jewelry to get it replaced. Neither time has been a simple procedure (it’s an unusual battery or the screw gets lost), so I have a long time to wait, with nothing to look at but rows and rows of rings. Diamond rings. Wedding rings. They’re calling my name.
Soft, romantic music plays quietly in the background as I gaze at the cases. My empty ring finger aches to feel the precious metal slip over my knuckle. I picture my knight standing before me, asking that longed-for question, “Will you be mine, now and forever, from here to eternity?”
I’m brought back to reality as the jeweler asks me a question. “What? Oh, no, I don’t know how old Mom’s watch is, sorry.” Turning back to the window, I look out to see a friend parked outside. “I’ll be right back.”
I walk down the cracked sidewalk , on the bridge over the singing creek, and stop next to the family-size van. Anne is nursing her five-week-old baby daughter. She has three adorable blond-haired boys at home with their daddy.
“The jewelry store, huh?” she asks with a pointed smile.
“No. I wish! Just getting a battery for Mom’s watch,” I explain.
“I thought you might be meeting someone at college?”
“That’s where Anne met Rod,” her mother puts in from the passenger seat.
I roll my eyes. “No. It took one look around the classroom to know I wouldn’t be getting my ‘MRS’ there.”
We talk of college, my brother, and a recent trip. All the while I’m adoring her precious nine-pound baby.
“One of my closest friends just got married; I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. Now she’s expecting a little one—I’m going to be an aunt!” I smile. “But it makes me want to be a wife and mommy even more!” I add with a sigh.
“Yeah, it’s pretty fun.” Anne looks at little Allayna with a mother’s pride. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear!
“It’s a lot of work, too,” she adds. But her look says it’s worth it.
I walk back to the jewelry store, with the memory of a tiny little girl in pink snuggled up to her mommy’s breast. I sign my name for the watch, my maiden name, and with a last look at the sparkling diamonds, go out the door and hop in my car. Melancholy Country music blares from my radio, perfectly suiting my mood. “I wanna love somebody, love somebody like you.”
As I shift the car into reverse, my mind goes back to Megan’s phone call a few days before. “When we were shopping Melanie brought me these pants and told me they were very comfortable when she was pregnant. So I bought two pair!”
Later that day I’d seen several expectant mothers, with a sparkle in their eye and a baby in their protruding stomach. “I wanna be a mom!” I moaned to Meg the next time she called. Hearing about her morning sickness doesn’t deter me. They all say that it’s worth it when you hold them in your arms.
But my arms are empty. And no man has asked to hold me in his. So until such a time as I walk into a jewelry store on the arm of my knight, with a diamond ring on my finger, I think I’ll boycott jewelry stores. Maybe I’ll even boycott weddings.
But I can’t boycott babies—they’re too precious. So I’ll just go work in the nursery for a while, holding a tired momma’s baby until she takes it away. Then I’ll go home and dream of the day when someday I’ll be holding my own baby, with that diamond ring on my finger.