It was in an old gymnasium, still imbrued with the dust of our youth, that we met again to mark the passage of time, to come together so we could keep the past from disappearing entirely. Not all of us had made it, many lost to calamities we thought of ourselves immune to when we were young; mental illness, drug abuse, suicide. None of these had any of the glory that we had presupposed would shroud any early deaths.
We hid from these tragedies by laughing at the foolishness of our past decisions, tomfoolery and pranks that might have ended in disaster, but didn’t, goals more bold than wise that had been judiciously abandoned. Tracy, though, cooled all of that by flashing her hand, the hoop of the promise ring still there. There was no marriage ring to replace it.
I remembered being in the same Baptist church as she, raising my hand to take the same vow she had. But I had given it away to the first woman who smiled at me, the exhilaration of consummation eclipsing any guilt I might have felt. When I met the woman I would eventually marry she still believed the assurance of my ring, though, and that was just the first of many lies that had ended with us parting ways.
I stared at Tracy with her bitter pride, and I couldn’t help but wonder which of us had lost more.