Tonight I’m going on my first date in over two years. It’s also the first date I’ve had since my husband’s death.
The man is due to pick me up in twenty minutes, and I stand in front of the full-length mirror, assessing my reflection. One thing keeps catching my eye.
It’s a gaudy-looking thing, and I know it. Perched on my little finger, Barbie-pink and hard plastic, the ring doesn’t coordinate with my sleek, black dress. Others will see me at the fine restaurant and think me showy and presumptuous, wearing such a frou-frou piece of costume jewelry.
Still, I’ll be wearing it all evening, because it says so much more than the dress ever would on its own.
Ah, the dress. It’s black by no coincidence; I chose the color of mourning. This is a big step for me, the dress will say to this new someone. Let it be known I still grieve. And that John will always be with me.
And, what with its length just at my knee, sweet capped sleeves, modest v-neck, it says I’m to be taken seriously. I’m a respectable woman, with clear-cut expectations, responsible ideas.
But yet the ring says so much more.
Its hue pops out from the dark background the dress provides, speaking of brighter days, of the happiness I’ve managed since John was taken from me. It whispers that I have a sense of humor, and I know how to have fun. But, more than anything, it tells a man that Sosie is most important to me.
It was Sosie, my beautiful three-year-old with the jet-black hair just like her daddy’s, who put the ring—her princess ring—on my finger.
“Mommy, wear my wing tonight,” she’d said, sliding it over my pinkie knuckles. “You wook bootie-ful.”
And so how can I not wear it?
It will be a subtle reminder, throughout the whole evening, that my heart belongs to a little girl. She’s been my one and only for two years, and it’s not easy to let someone new in. Any man will have to accept it. He’ll have to accept Sosie and me, a package deal.
That’s what the ring says.
This is a piece of flash fiction (364 words) I wrote a few months ago. The spark of idea came to me and snowballed as I played Pretty Pretty Princess with my girls, when I caught glimpse of a similar plastic ring on my own finger.
The Ring made the first-round cuts at two online pubs, but eventually met rejection from both places. When I got notification from the second publication yesterday, I decided I'd post it here. Why not share it with all of you, and whomever happens by? That's, in essence, a large reason I have this blog, and I think it's important to continually share examples of my works and style.
Anyway, an editor from the first pub said it read more like a vignette (which is what, now?) while another thought it more a character sketch. The second online magazine didn't give any reasons as to why they were "unable to use it." (Both places suggested I submit other pieces in the future.)
Do you have any constructive criticism to offer? What would you tell me if you were an editor?