By Marthea Webber
She sees it again on a peak two thousand feet above the sea, kneeled before her.
“What happened to it?” she asks, stopping his question for hers.
His knee shifts in the dirt below, draws a semi-circle.
“I took it to a jeweler after I got it from your grandpa.”
He stands up.
“They cleaned it. See where they cut the band? We’ll refinish it.”
She takes the ring from him. Feels the sharp gap between its two curved beaks.
On the trail down the mountain the sumac-colored bushes etch lines on her calves.
She sees the ring always on Lally’s hand. There is no first moment. But there is one: when they make sheet pan pizza Lally uses eight fingers to touch the clammy dough. Her ring and pinky fingers curl into the air above.
She climbs out of the jewelry store dumpster alone: no skin on cotton swab, no gritty dirt from Lally’s little street and little house wiped on cloth. She tries to see through the store’s star-speckled window. Taking the tire jack from her trunk, she walks up to the window with it. Raising it above her head, she readies herself to keep looking.
Marthea Webber writes and teaches in Goleta, California. She is an expert at loving dogs and ointmenting their eyes. Her writing has appeared in Paper Darts, Slackjaw, and Little Old Lady Comedy. She tweets as @write4action.