Ring of Memories (by Storm)

Summary:   This is my story for the January challenge.

Rated: K+  WC  1000

 

 

                                                                                                  Ring of Memories

I hold the ring in my hand. I look at it and wonder how something so little can mean something so great. I can remember many times wondering why my father held onto something he no longer needed; he was usually a reasonable, practical man and there had been many times we could have used the money selling that ring would have brought.

I can recall him finding me holding it once and instead of becoming angry, as I had thought would be his reaction at finding me holding the only proof he would need that I had gone through his private things because that was the only way for me to have found it, he instead sat quietly down beside me and tried to explain things to me. He told me that the ring was more then it appeared, that it was a symbol of a promise he had made and that it was a promise he would always keep. I can remember a time I believed, as hard as it seems, that he was lying. I really liked Inger but wasn’t he breaking that first promise he had made if he was going to make the same promise to her? In one of my more insolent moments I might have brought this up to him, and again instead of answering me in anger he tried to explain.

He said that even though in his heart he would always love my mother it didn’t mean that he couldn’t love Inger too. With the blind faith of a child I took what my father had said to be true maybe because of the calm way in which he had answered me or maybe more because he was my father. It wasn’t until I had done a little more growing up that I understood there was truth in what he had told me. I learned that one could love more than one because there were so many ways to love. When we lost Inger I saw my pa add another ring to that box where he kept my mothers and I believed it would be the last. I made a resolution that for me at least it would be the last. I resolved that no matter what my father did I would never love anyone like that again.

For quite a number of years I believed my father must have made that same vow. Then there was an accident and pa made another promise he had to keep. When he returned from fulfilling that promise it was not alone. I tried my hardest to keep Marie out of my heart but she found some hidden entrance, one even I didn’t know existed.

When I saw my father add that third ring to the other two I noticed how they reflected our families growing prosperity. My mother’s was a simple one, bought on the wages of a sailor. Inger’s might have been even less then my mother’s bought on the meager earnings of a man trying to fulfill a dream. Marie’s was slightly more elaborate bought by a man well on his way to achieving that dream. But even though each had a different value money wise the promise and love that one had been given with was no less or greater then either of the other two.
Ben had been silently observing his son as he sat on his bed lost in memories and for a moment he found himself about to travel down the same path of reminiscences. He knew he couldn’t let that happen not only for his sake but for his son’s as well. “Adam?”

“Hey pa.” Adam glanced at his father and for a moment felt like that little boy caught doing something he shouldn’t.

Ben had seen the guilty expression on his son’s face and for a second was brought back to a time when he had caught his son holding the same ring. He knew then his son had expected a tanning but it wasn’t what he got. Ben hoped the same wasn’t true now because he hadn’t the strength or the lap room. “Are you going to come down and join us? It is almost midnight.”

“Yeah pa I’m coming.”

To Ben his son’s voice sounded troubled so instead of going down and expecting his son to follow he joined him on the bed because just as before he felt Adam needed understanding and it was his job as his father to give his son what he needed sometimes not what he deserved. “What’s wrong son.”

“I was just thinking.”

“You’ll find her Adam.”

“Find who pa?”

“The woman you’ll give that ring to.”

“I’m afraid a woman would expect something a little more elaborate from me.”

Ben knew that the Ponderosa could be a double edged sword. Money had a way of making life easier and yet somehow harder in certain aspects. “Not the right one. Not the one that loved you for you. To your mother Adam that ring was priceless.”

“I know pa but I’m afraid I may get tired of waiting for that right girl and instead try to bribe the wrong girl with a more costly ring.”

Ben was not above defending his sons even to themselves. “You wouldn’t need to bribe any woman, and I’m not just saying that because you’re my son, also I have great faith in your patience.”

“I know that pa and thanks but sometimes it’s not easy.”

“You’re right Adam being alone never is, and while I and your brothers can never take the place of a woman’s love we do love you son and we will never let you be alone; not for too long anyway.”

“I know that pa.”

“Good then if that’s all settled come on down. It’s even closer to midnight then it was when I came up here to get you which means it’s even closer to the start of a new year.”

“You’re right as always pa and with each new year comes new dreams, new hopes, and new chances.”

 

 

 

 

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