The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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My mom fell on some really difficult times after she and my dad split up. There was a time when she had to go on a ‘diet’ so that my brothers didn’t ask why she wasn’t eating dinner with them. It was pretty devastating to realize that the ring was fake, but she managed to move past it, always surviving.

Doreen shifted her feet on the forest-green carpet of the jeweler’s. She stared blankly at the bright cases full of thousands of dollars worth of diamonds, promising her happiness. If only a ring could keep a promise. If only her husband could.

“Doreen?” The jeweler, Mr. Fischer, an old friend of her father’s, called to her from the door. His watery, dimly blue eyes seemed sad. He stepped through the door, holding it for her and motioning for her to enter.

Doreen’s heart seized. She took a few shaky steps into the room behind the door. The back room was filled with neatly lined up desks, filing cabinets, and safes. One desk was lit brightly by half a dozen lights, jeweler’s tools gleaming silver on its surface.

Mr. Fischer pulled a chair from one of the unlit desks, offering it to Doreen. He rolled his own over as Doreen sat.

“Is something wrong?” Doreen said, voice shaking. The man smiled at her sadly, holding out the ring she had brought to sell.

“Can I ask where you got this ring?”

“It was an engagement ring,” Doreen said, biting her lip.

The man nodded. He knew this, Doreen could see that. After all this time in the business, she guessed he could spot an engagement ring from a mile away. He was just hoping he could spare her.

“Sweetie…,” he seemed to be weighing his words.” This ring is fake.”

The tears fell before the words even registered. The man gently took her left hand, bringing it up to eye level. He gently traced a band of discoloration on her ring finger, a thin line of green where her ring used to sit. “This is oxidation. It happens when cheap metals stay in contact with the skin for too long.

Doreen was at a loss. Selling this ring could have bought groceries for weeks. If it were real.

Mr. Fischer held out the ring. “I’m sorry sweetie. I wish I could-”

“No, no. It’s not your fault. Thank you so much.” She stared at the ring contemptuously. “Would you mind getting rid of that for me?”

The Thin Green Line

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