My mother gave me the ring back after he died. It's only fitting, she said. He would want my husband to have it, she said.
I honestly don't remember if I waited for a special holiday or if I just presented The Husband with the DAD ring---in its original box because my father saved everything---but I remember a lot of other things.
Like seeing the ring in the Sunday ads and saving my Friday and Saturday night tips from my job as a busser for a month. And grabbing my bike and riding across town to buy it myself because Mom didn't have a driver's license and I didn't want to give the surprise away by asking Dad for a ride.
I was 13 when I gave him that ring.
I was 31 when I got it back.
In between the then and now, I exchanged secret, barely-there smiles with my dad every time he wore it. Working in a factory meant jewelry was reserved for special occasions. And the little girl in me always felt a surge of pride when I'd see the sun reflect its warmth off of the third finger on his right hand.
He remembered, I'd think. He wore it because he knew I'd be looking.
My father was a man of few words. His actions did his speaking for him. He married my mother right out of high school because I was on the way, dropped out of college and worked two jobs to move our growing family into a safer neighborhood. His absence during my childhood was never seen as negative. Instead, it was a silent testimony to his loyalty and love.
My mother knew how important that ring was to me. That's why she placed it in my hands when she was finally able to go through his belongings.
The Husband won't be wearing the ring tomorrow. He's working and doesn't wear jewelry on the job. He might not even wear it on his day off, instead saving it for the next special occasion. And when he does put it on, I know he'll wait for the warmth of the sun to reflect off the third finger of his right hand for me see all the memories contained within.