I saw him playing with it, trying it on and twirling it between his own little fingers. I took it off him, explaining that it was my special ring, that I couldn’t let him play with it. As I took the ring and went to place it where I usually do, on the shelf above the toilet, I had one of those slow-motion moments, the type where I’m holding my wedding ring and one of the diamonds sparkles in the light and something tells me: put it in a different place, put it some place safer. I didn’t listen. I put it where I usually do, on the shelf above the toilet, and turned away.
The rest of the day was like any of those very rare days where Joseph and I have arranged to go out—by ourselves—and because we desperately want everything to go to plan, nothing goes to plan. Boone skips his nap, which makes us all cranky and threatens to derail our plans. We forge ahead and as I’m getting ready, I notice. It’s gone. Panic creeps up but I reassure myself that I often think some piece of jewellery or another is missing only to find it again.
“Boone, have you seen my ring?”
I ask him because he knows where everything is, mainly because he’s the one responsible for the constant re-organisation of everything in our house. He’s usually honest about where he’s hidden things, too. Sometimes we don’t understand his terminology, though, like the time he put the toilet roll holder down the hoover hose except he didn’t call it the hoover hose, he called it the “big blower.” For a while there we thought Dyson had lied to us because our hoover was definitely losing suction but then one day, the missing toilet roll holder fell out and proper suction was restored.
“Oh! I show you,” said Boone.
He goes into the bathroom, lowers the toilet seat oh so carefully, climbs up on the toilet seat and with confidence says:
“There it is!”
“No, Boone, that’s Daddy’s ring, where’s my ring?”
He runs away from me and as I’m frantically looking over desks, counters, tables, and shelves, he confesses to Joseph.
“I flushed it down the toilet.”
I refuse to believe this. First, when he usually flushes things that are not supposed to go down the toilet, he pushes the handle really quickly and then cackles very loudly, like the time he flushed my wide-toothed comb and it got stuck in the pipes in such an awkward way, we had to get a plumber out. Boone thought this was hilarious and for weeks loved telling people about how when the plumber eventually pulled the comb out there was “wee and poo all around it!” There certainly was—lots and lots of our perfectly formed, vegan, Dr. Oz-approved poo. “Stand back,” the plumber had said, “this is not going to be nice.”
After that whole incident, I thought Boone had gotten over his flushing phase. But Joseph tells me that Boone still slips things in behind the toilet seat, that, in effect, “he never stopped.” Joseph also tells me that sometimes Boone doesn’t realize that the flush will actually work, that with the pull of a handle, something can disappear.
This is when I begin to doubt my belief that surely Boone wouldn’t flush something so precious and imbued with sentiment to me down the toilet, not my beautiful sapphire and diamond Art Deco eternity band that we got it in the world’s dodgiest (or most charming, depending how you want to look at it) antiques shop in Dublin that magical Christmas-filled day in 2005.
Boone, however, was sticking to his story. He apologized to me, as per Joseph’s instructions, and I pleaded with him, asking if he had really, really, really flushed my ring down the toilet.
“Yes! It’s funny! Hahaha. Ha? Hey, why do you have a sad face?”
He went to bed easily, contritely. We went out. My ring finger felt naked. I held onto a thread of hope; I’d never heard the tell-tale cackle, after all. But as Finola pointed out, he could have flushed it and then realized, uh-oh, I shouldn’t have done that.
The next day I had to accept that it was gone. I contemplated getting Joseph to open up the pipe but we both knew that it was well on its way to the sewage plant. I had a fleeting fantasy that maybe it would get sifted out and a worker would find it but then I got a less fleeting dose of reality when I thought about whether I would want it again after being through all that (literal) shit.
I was in a sour mood with Boone for the rest of the weekend. I tried to keep resentment at bay, to not give into the temptation to be overly dramatic and think that this was all some sort of sign, but in the end I had to remind myself: it’s just a ring, he’s just a kid. And rings can be replaced. Grant it, vintage sapphire and diamond rings are not that easily replaced, at least not with our current budget, but I’ve always liked the idea of a plain gold ring, as the song goes, something that were it to be flushed down the toilet, I would be disappointed but not heartbroken.