Grandma wrings her bare fingers together nervously,
as she watches me untie the ribbon
that has guarded the dusty box for so long.
She holds her breath as I slide off the lid,
to reveal a glimmer of gold within.
She reaches into the depths
of the box full of memories,
and emerges with the final fragment
of the love they had shared.
She traces the circle with her fingers,
the perfect, complete circle that has no end.
She remembers the first time
Grandad slid it onto her youthful finger,
As he promised her a life together
Till death did them part.
She remembers the shimmer of the gold
between Grandad’s fingers whenever
he held her petite hands in his,
or when she ruffled his hair through her fingers.
She remembers watching it heave
To the rhythm of his breath
As she laid on his chest
Each lazy Sunday morning.
She remembers me clasping onto it
as a newborn making sense of this world,
while Grandad holds her and I close
in his embrace, bringing us into his world.
She remembers watching wrinkles
slowly swallowing it within its folds
while Grandad gently smooths her skin
and thanks her
for letting him grow old with her.
She remembers twisting it nervously
with her trembling fingers
in the sterile doctor’s surgery
as her husband’s death sentence is pronounced.
Then, she remembers it clenched
in his frail hands,
hoping she could hold him so tight
death could not separate them.
But no matter how tight her grip,
she remembers how his hands,
had slipped out of hers.
Now she feels her barren finger,
and the loneliness it has borne for so long,
reminding her of what she has lost,
of what she’s no longer got.
She tries to slide it on,
but her fingers are now plump
and filled with loose creases,
with nobody to smooth down.
Grandma lets out a loud sigh
of defeat and sadness,
as if she had let Grandad down,
had lost even this last fragment of hope.
I take out another box
and untie the ribbon
that has guarded this dusty box for so long,
and sliding off the lid to reveal a glimmer of gold within.
This one is also a circle without end,
just as perfect and complete.
Only this one is a little bigger.
It was once fit for a man,
but now, it fits perfectly for Grandma.