The Ring

I came across this very short story I wrote a while ago from a prompt and decided to share it here. Hope you enjoy:

The Ring

The glove compartment’s contents were a chaotic mess inside. As Jenny shifted the items around to find her car registration her fingers dug into something sharp. When she fished it out she saw it was her mother’s engagement ring. The one passed down from five generations back. How could she have been so careless to leave it there?

She enclosed the diamond ring in her left palm and reached again in the glove compartment for her vehicle registration. After a few questions the officer let her off with a warning and took off. Jenny pulled back onto the highway reluctantly. She was still shaken about her carelessness with such a treasured piece of their family’s heirloom. Ten minutes later she pulled into her driveway.

After shutting off the car, all her worries flooded through her mind. Jenny closed her eyes to contain them, but the most important thought squeezed its way through. Was she forgetting things? Then like a bomb it hit her. What she heard Bob, her husband, saying on the phone a couple days earlier:

“It’s getting worse Pete. First it was little minor things I thought were accidental.” He had paused as though he couldn’t bear the thought, much more to say the words aloud. “But for the first time yesterday we were talking about Kate, and she didn’t know who Kate was. How could she forget her own daughter?”
Jenny could picture her husband’s brother on the other end of the line asking him what he was going to do.
“I don’t know. I’ve scheduled an appointment. I guess from here we just have to hope for the best.”

The sound of an airplane above brought Jenny back from her memory. Tears strolled down her rosy cheeks. Then a small whimper escaped her red lips as she leaned forward onto the steering wheel. It seemed like forever but only a few minutes passed. Composing herself, Jenny took the ring from her lap where she had placed it after finding it in the glove compartment. Its prongs bore into her palm as she clutched tightly, determined this time to give it to her daughter before she lost it. Jenny desired to give the ring to her daughter after hearing about her engagement a few weeks back. Now she had the opportunity once more and she would make the best of it.

A few days later, Jenny sat in a diner waiting for Kate. When Kate showed up they ordered their meal. Jenny had told Kate over the phone that she wanted to give her something. As they ate they discussed fond memories of when Kate was growing up. Halfway through brunch Jenny stopped eating and stared out the window. It had begun raining.
“I have an extra umbrella in the car if you need it mom.”
When Jenny didn’t respond Kate went on, “so what was it you wanted to give me?”
Jenny continued to stare outside. Kate reached forward and touched her mother’s hand. For the first time since they sat to eat Kate noticed the ring on the table.
“Mom, you okay?” Jenny picked up the ring and rotated it between her fingertips. It was as though she was trying to figure out how it got there.

“Mom?” Kate started to feel flushed and jittery from her mom’s unresponsiveness.

Jenny looked up at Kate, “do I know you?”
Shock went through Kate because her father’s update on her mother’s condition could never have prepared her for that. Shaking, Kate retrieved her hand but continued to stare at her mother. Tears welled in her eyes, and her lips began to quiver, “Mom, it’s me. Kate.”
A few minutes passed then Jenny reached across the table. She gently wiped a tear from Kate’s eyes although her own tears ran down her cheeks.
In a bare whisper she said, “It happened again, didn’t it?” Kate reached across the table and held both her mom’s hands in her own and squeezed.
“I’m sorry sweetie.”
Kate shook her head. “There’s nothing to be sorry about mom. I love you.”
Kate took the ring off the table and replaced it with the one her fiancé had given her. “Thanks for the ring mom, I promise to cherish it.”
Jenny was so glad to have kept her promise. She got up and slid inside the booth beside her daughter and they embraced.

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