Rings

He was buried with rings on his fingers. A jade square-cut ring on the middle finger of his right hand and a gold signet ring on his index finger.

He had written in his will that the rings were not to go to the children. His wife had not wanted to sell them. His mistress had often noticed the way he ran his thumb against the side of the signet ring when he was thinking, and the way he tested the looseness of the jade stone in the fixing when he was tense.

There was a small chip on the bottom edge of the jade.

Once he had been drunk and told his friends that the rings had belonged to his grandfather, who had worn them during the war, and that they were the only way his grandfather’s body had been identified after his plane was shot down.

His grandmother believed that his grandfather’s soul was captured in the jade, and was sure that she could hear her husband speaking to her whenever she wore the ring. When he was young, he had knocked the rings from his grandmother’s kitchen table and when they hit the tiled kitchen floor the jade ring had been chipped.

His grandmother stopped hearing his grandfather’s voice after that. She died shortly after. He had worn the rings ever since.

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