Earlier this year, I had a dream that my wedding band partially fused into my finger. When I looked down, I could see half the band glinting silver and the other half embedded under the skin. My engagement ring is unconventionally flashy, a large emerald solitaire, but the wedding ring is simple, just a thin platinum loop. In the dream, I fingered the silver ring with my other hand, twisting it round on round, watching with fascination and fear as it slid into and out of my body.
When I told my husband about the dream the next morning, I tried to spin it as a compliment instead of a horror show. “It means that our marriage is so fundamentally important and unshakable that it’s part of me.” He looked skeptical. “It sounds more like you feel trapped.”
We’re coming up on seven weeks of sheltering in place together with our school-aged daughter in a modestly-sized townhouse. I feel trapped at home, because I am a person who likes to be out, but I don’t feel trapped with him. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without him. He’s homeschooling our daughter. He buys all of our food and essential supplies. He found toilet paper when there was none to be found and sanitizing wipes. He had reusable masks delivered before the Evanston’s face covering order went into effect. He makes lunch and dinner five nights per week. He wakes up and makes breakfast early on Sunday mornings so I can attend virtual church. He bakes sourdough. He washes the dishes cleans the bathrooms. He planned our daughter’s birthday top to bottom. He remembers to make things fun, with board games and video games and snacks and toys. He packs our go bags. He listens to play-by-play reports of my weekly therapy sessions, which has to be deeply boring, and he listen when I recount my dreams, which is even worse. He tells jokes, some bad and some good. He always has music playing. He is always a solid partner, but in a crisis he’s the best.
About a week into quarantine I woke up in the middle of the night, rubbing the fourth finger on my left hand. My wedding band felt itchy and tight. This happens with most jewelry I wear–I’m allergic to heavy metals and have sensitive skin–but rarely with my wedding band, which never leaves my hand. It was uncomfortable enough that I worked the tiny ring off over my knuckle. I slipped it into a jewelry box and went back to sleep.
When I woke up, I forgot all about it. In fact, I forgot about it for weeks, only noticing the other day that my finger was still bare. “Huh, that’s weird.” I’m still not wearing the ring. When I’m not seeing anybody but my family, there just doesn’t seem to be much point. Will wedding rings, I wonder, go the way of makeup and bras and pants and shoes in this new world where we know no one but the ones who already know everything about us?