Before my wedding to my amazing wife Nadine, I was really apprehensive at the prospect of wearing a wedding ring — So much so that I suggested us getting tattooed rings instead; which is quite something for someone who both has a really low pain threshold, and hates tattoos! But Nadine wasn’t down for that and so we went with rings —I am glad we avoided that painful alternative!
Our wedding forewent plenty of the traditional wedding tropes, we very much crafted a ceremony and a day we wanted, that really represented us. But I could see the value of the symbolism of the rings, so that was one of the traditions we did stick with. We spent quite a while hunting for a ring design that really meant something to us. We wanted something that represented our relationship and our shared philosophies. For a while we were looking at various rings made of wood, or even resin rings with plants trapped inside. Ultimately we went with metal, but in the form of two intertwined leaves, representing our love together, and our love of the natural world. It also represents the particulars of our wedding, which was hosted outdoors in a beautiful garden and autumnal woodland; reflected in the colour of the gold leaves. I knew when I eventually found it it was perfect.
Still, I anticipated hating wearing it.
You see I’m very sensitive to things on my body; I routinely cut out all the tags from my clothes, as they irritate the hell out of me. I could never wear a watch; I gave up in my teens. I always remove my shoes whenever I can; in the cinema, on a train, at uni, and at work until I got moaned at about that! And well, there’s a reason I’m a nudist; I really hate wearing anything!
So I knew wearing a ring would bother me immensely. And it does; I’m constantly aware of it and adjusting it. I’m an infernal fiddler, and having a ring on has given me a brand new thing to fiddle with all day long every day!
But I’ve also fallen quite in love with my ring. It’s there as a constant presence even when my Nadine isn’t with me. When I miss her I look at it, I stroke it, I talk to it! It’s like I can hold her with me all the time.
I lost it for a few minutes the other day. It seems I took it off in my sleep, and I woke up in quite a panic, immediately frantically searching for it. I found it in seconds. But I was amazed what a profound loss and fear I felt; I’ve never experienced such a connection to a physical object.
Its presence and symbolism is probably amplified by our current situation. Because of work Nadine and I are living cities apart; we’ve not seen each other since days after our wedding when the UK entered it’s second covid lockdown. It’s been agonising being apart. We talk every day for hours. But I miss her terribly. Fiddling with my ring; glancing down to it every so often; just feeling it constantly there; it’s like I’m that little bit closer to my love.
So I’m quite turned around. While there’s barely a moment I’m not acutely aware there’s this foreign thing on my finger, it’s become a presence I don’t hate at all; I adore that it’s holding me close to my Nadine even when we’re stuck far apart.
Photo by Verity Westcott for the author.