My mother nearly died when I showed her the ring.
I didn’t want the ring. I didn’t mean to take it.
But it was beautiful, and its red stone sparkled so intensely. Even to this day, when I look down upon it, the strings in my heart leap into my throat. She is perfect for me.
Have you ever considered the possibility that stones will speak to you if you listen carefully?
And that was what happened that day. A faint hum licked my earlobes, and I simply could not say no to her.
Hindsight is always far too clear. I kick myself every day for letting her seduce me into saying yes to Henry.
She, in her scarlet beauty, wrapped with a string of silver, was like a poppy poison. Wisps of, “say yes!” penetrated my chest and squeezed my heart. And now, she is the chain that ties me to the man I do not love. She reminds me every day that I can neither leave him nor the child. She binds me.
Mutti wept when she saw it. “Noooo,” she wailed. Because nothing good could come from an engagement with an American soldier– not if you are a young German maiden as I was. (I fancied myself a maiden, what says you to that?)
I did not know what I had done. It would be several months before the gravity of the situation would sink in.
But at that very moment, on the first day, I was ecstatic.
What was the worst thing that could happen? I could wear her for a while, and give her back, telling him that I had changed my mind.
But I underestimated the strength of my mother’s convictions.