The Ring – Guidance Requested

So I started off writing a short story following these prompts that I found on a website. They simply said to write a short story involving: A stolen ring, a fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger. I started, and the ring part was easy, I always had it in my head apparently. But I don’t know where to go from here. Anyone have any ideas they can give me. Even just more prompts, because the spiders and strangers aren’t stirring any emotions in me. Leave a suggestion in the comments! 🙂 Thanks.

The Ring

It was the day of her funeral. I couldn’t believe Gram was gone. I was half pain, half content. I know she suffered towards the end and I know she lived a long life filled with plenty of happiness, but I was of course still sad to see her gone. On the other side, I was also glad she was no longer suffering. Anyways, I knew deep down, that this was the human condition we all unknowingly agreed to when we were born. Death is always how it ends, there is no other way.

I sat in my small, bachelor apartment, thinking and thinking of what to wear, of what my loving Gram would approve of. She was a strong willed woman who had an opinion about everything. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but she never faulted me for voicing my opinion, she knew being strong was important and admired the quality she believed she had passed on to me. I wanted to wear something that she would like, knowing that she had so many issues with the rips in my jeans or the band prints on my t-shirts. She always wanted me to be more feminine, and in her final moment before her body left the earth for good, I thought I could respect her wishes and give up my comfort for her, this time it was really all about her. The problem was, I didn’t have much that worked for a funeral. Nothing that my wonderful grandmother would deem appropriate, but time was passing quickly and I really needed to leave. I finally chose the only pair of black dress pants I owned and a black fitted sweater. It was dreary, as were most of my clothes, but at least there were no rips or tears anywhere to be seen, and at least to me, it seemed classy and feminine enough for her liking. With my shoes on, and jacket done up, I ran out the door and drove the short distance to the funeral home.

Walking in the door of the church, I was confronted with many faces. Some strangers, some slightly familiar, and others family. I said hi to those I knew in a somber voice, and made my way over to my mom and brother. “Hi Charlotte, you look nice,” my mom was always happiest when my tattoos weren’t visible and never failed to mention it. “Thanks, you too” I could tell she had been crying, but then she was now suddenly faced with living the rest of her life parentless, so crying was only natural. Parentless was something I couldn’t even begin to fathom, so I ached for the pain she must be feeling. My brother felt like I did, sad at missing our Grandma, but happy it was over. We found it hard to shed too many tears despite the occasion, only because we knew that deep down, it was what Gram really wanted. Since our granddad died two years ago, she wanted nothing more than to be reunited with him, and with her strong faith she led every day since that moment awaiting their return to one another. So we both took our moms hand to show our support, but felt almost happiness at the peace our Gram was now feeling.

The funeral went as most do, something more for the living then for the dead, full of clichĂ©s and life lessons, full of religious text and sermons that have little to do with the life of the one who has passed. I always found funerals very bland and unimaginative, I always wanted more from them, more personalized history of the deceased’s life. I certainly never felt any closure upon hearing the minister spew out some standard words that they’d said a million times. My mom got up to speak and it was the most emotional part of the whole affair. She was always good with speeches, if a little dramatic, but if ever there was a time to be dramatic, now was certainly that time. She told my grandma’s life story as she knew it. It seemed very hard, and romantic, and completely different from the life I had lived so far. I would never experience a world war as she did, I would never experience the pain of losing friends to war, of thinking I had lost my fiancĂ© to war. The stories were entertaining and funny and spoke greatly of my grandma. By the time it was over, both my brother and I were finally in tears, finally seeing the full force a single life could have on the world.

Afterwards, everyone went up to the casket to say their own personal goodbyes one last time. One by one, people touched my cold grandma as though she was still in there and some part of her could still feel their presence. I hoped with everything in me that this wasn’t true, for what could be scarier than being present at your own funeral, stuck in your body, aware of the lives that were continuing without you. I waited until the very end so I could be alone with her, I had written her a eulogy as well, but didn’t have my mother’s penchant for public speaking so I decided I would read it to my grandma alone. When everyone had left the room, I asked my mom and the minister to give me a minute and took the piece of paper out of pocket.

“Well Gram, this is it. I’ll try not to make this too sentimental, because that was never our thing, but I did have some things I wanted to say to you. I wanted to say to you that I love you. I love how strong you were, I love how tough you were, and I love that you taught me the importance of my opinions. You taught me that I matter even in this great big world. I wanted to tell you, Gram, you were a great inspiration to me and will continue to be, as I will live my life following your rule: Never Give Up. I won’t Gram, for you, I won’t. I know it’s been hard, and I know sometimes I’ve wanted to, but I hereby promise you that for you I will never give up. I will try, and try and try until I can’t try anymore, and then I will give another push and keep going because life is hard, but it is also amazing. Of everything you taught me, that was the most important one. Life can be amazing. So goodbye Gram. Say hi to Grandpa for me, if that whole thing really does exist in the end.”

I leaned over to kiss my grandmother’s wrinkly, white forehead, doing what everyone else had done, acting as though this empty body was still somehow the person I loved. But I guess that was just what you did, I guess you didn’t let go until you had to. Until there was no more body left to hold on too. I grabbed my grandmother’s hand, unwilling to walk away in that moment, needing just a few more seconds before I could tear myself away, when I noticed the ring on her finger. She still wore her wedding band and engagement ring from my grandfather, of course, but on her right hand, prominently showing, was a small, gold ring with a solitary pearl in its center and two miniscule diamonds on either side. It was my ring. I couldn’t believe it.

Since I was little I had adored this ring and told my grandmother so every time I saw it. As I got bigger I begged her to let me wear it every time I came over, and paraded it around the house like I was the queen of the world. When I turned 13 my grandmother gave me a cheap replica that only sort of resembled the ring and promised me that when she left the world, I could have the real one. I was wearing the replica at this very moment and had planned to bring up the real ring in a few weeks when my mom had started going through her things. I couldn’t believe this ring was about to be lost to the world forever, cremated with my grandmother, its ashes put in the ground.

I didn’t know what to do. This ring was one of the things holding me together in this moment. Yes I knew my gram’s was in pain, and I knew she wanted to be with her husband, but she was still my gram and I still loved her and missed her dearly. This relic was supposed to be my forever reminder of her, that even when things got hard, I would have her strength and protection and I would make it through. I had to have this ring. I looked around quickly and saw the empty room, everyone had crowded out into the lobby and some had left to go back to my mom’s house for the wake. I was alone, I could take the ring and no one would know. But should I? Was it wrong? Was I doing something terrible in retrieving something I truly didn’t believe I could live without? I mean, really, it was just a ring, my grandma’s strength would be with me no matter what, but now was the time to decide, and I knew I needed to have it. It had been my life; it had been the symbol to me that everything would be okay. So I looked around one more time and retrieved the ring from my grandma’s cold, cold hand. I removed the replica from my hand and placed it on her finger. A simple exchange. I was simply taking something that was meant to be mine. I knew my grandma would understand.


About laurengowing

I read prose. I write prose. I don't really read poetry, but sometimes I write it.
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