You twist the ring around your finger, feeling the small diamond touch the skin before being brought round again to dazzle the eye. It was, quite frankly, a very undazzling wedding ring, but it served its purpose. It had been bought at the jewellers were all the teenagers proudly bought their first loves tokens of affections, a relationship intended to last forever but unlikely to last the year. On the other side of the room two such teenagers had giggled as the girl flamboyantly announced she needed more sparkle. You had simply pointed to the ring, said you didn't need a box, and paid the $50 cash before walking out.
Holding your hand up to the light, you try to admire it, and even though it's shine isn't dull, there's a dullness in your sight. Sighing, you fidget with the ring and rub your finger. Sometimes it was laborious to pretend to be married. Of course though, the labour paid. Seducing married men and then taking what you could was easy when they thought you had just as much to lose as they did. Even after you had disappeared with their wallets, watches and dignity, they wouldn't dare risk more but instead pretend they must've forgotten their things in the hotel room. It was a fool proof plan designed for fools.
Somewhere in the bedroom of your hotel room, a phone rings. Sauntering in you find it lying on the floor and a gnarly expression comes over your face. It was the fourth time that day she had called, and she wasn't going to stop. You couldn't have her calling later in the night.
"How many times does a sister have to call to get an answer Meg, you've been ignoring my calls all day?"
You sigh and plonk down onto the bed.
"I've been busy."
"No you haven't, now stop pretending to be busy for two minutes, I need to tell you something."
Over the phone she sounds almost upset, but it could her impatience at trying to call so many times.
"Alright Betty, you have my undivided attention for two minutes."
For a moment there's only the crackle between you two on the phone. When she speaks, you can tell it's more than impatience in her voice.
"I'm getting divorced."
Nothing, you say nothing. You sit there with the phone barely to you ear and your mind turning over the thousand things you could say but don't know which one's best.
"Meg? I know you hear me, I'm shocked too."
You manage to find your voice.
"I thought you loved him."
There's a snort over the phone.
"I thought that too. He," she pauses. "He was sleeping with Janet."
"From down the street?"
For a moment there's a type of laugh. "Not the Janet from our childhood, I certainly hope he didn't give me up for her, this Janet worked with him at his old job." You don't know where your
"You know," you say. "I tripped her over once, childhood Janet. She was just walking past and oops." You don't know where your mind is going, but you don't want it to be on the truth.
Your sister laughs. "I remember that, no one believed innocent Meg had tripped someone over."
"It's cause she said you stole her pen."
You share a laugh, something which you haven't done for a while.
"I'm sorry Betty," you say, remembering why she had called.
"Will you," she pauses and along breath comes. "Will you come down and get me. Everything here is his; this is his town, his friends, his life. I have nothing." There's another pause and this time you wonder if it's for tears. "Will you help me?"
You think about the sister you had had as a child, and the sister you had distanced yourself from. You didn't deserve for her to be asking you for help, but you know you want the first sister back.
"If you'll forgive me." You sniffle, trying to hold back the tears yourself.
"I never had any reason not to."
Swiping a hand across your cheek you smile.
"I'll leave first thing in the morning alright."
"Thank you. Really, thank you."
You want to be the one thanking her, for giving you a second chance at being a sister.
"I need to go," she says, still with the teary voice. "I'll, I'll see you soon right."
"I'll be there as soon as I can," you promise.
The buzz stops but you continue to hold the phone to your ear. Her life had been perfect. You had never wanted her life, instead rejecting it for money, but somehow every now and then there was a moment when you wondered if it was worth the trade. Perhaps it hadn't been for her this time, but it didn't mean it never could be. You had only met her husband a few times, and each time had brought a twinge as you saw them together, a couple which was meant to be perfectly happy. He wasn't meant to do this.
Somewhere downstairs at the hotel's bar were married men waiting to forget their wives. A wife that on any day could be your sister.
You hold the wedding ring up to the light, it's shade even less dazzling than before. You never wanted your sister to be hurt, you never thought her husband would be one of those men. You were no better. Just like the man who forgot his wife, you paid no thought to the woman on the other end. You couldn't be one of those people anymore.
With a single twist you pull the ring from you finger and let it fall onto the ground. The next time a ring was going on your finger, it was going to be true.