Asheyna - I reached down into the very bottom of the old oak chest...

The hidden door popped open. Wood whispering against wood, telling my secret to anyone that listened carefully enough to hear. No one would, they couldn't understand. My fingers slipped into the space, the tips barely making contact with the cold surface within. Gently taking hold I pulled it out, marveling again at it's beauty.
My fingers brushed the surface, the cold metal warming under my touch. I felt the intricate patterns that circled the ring, the bands of metal weaving in and out. In the center sat a stone, it caught the light split it into hundreds of tiny little sparkles that danced as I slipped the ring on my fourth finger and moved it back and forth. When he'd given it to me he told me it belonged to his mom, and her mom before her. The emerald had been in the family for years. I'd insisted I couldn't take it, I was not family. He insisted that I was.
It was hard to argue with him. It was even harder to get angry. Hardest still was to stay angry. He'd smile and laugh and give me a kiss. The sheer audacity of such an act usually shocked me into laughing as it was always unexpected, even though he did it every time. He didn't anymore.
His laugh was contagious, I hadn't laughed in far too long. Tears pooled in my eyes and as I blinked they spilled over down my cheek. Crying was far easier than laughing, it wasn't hard to think of a reason to cry. The feeling in my chest grew tighter as I struggled to breathe. The weight of the ring seemed to settle on my heart, slowing each beat down until it seemed as if they would never end.
I brushed the tear with the back of my hand. It was a familiar motion. I held the ring to my chest, as if proximity would heal it. It didn't work, instead the pain grew. Clutching at the shirt I surpressed a scream. The hole in my chest grew, sucking the air out of the room as I gasped for breath.
Removing the ring would stop the pain, end the waves of memories that threatened to drown me. But I could not muster the will. As long as I wore the ring the memory was real, we existed. I bit my lip, containing the wails that fought against my self-control. The ring was bonded to my skin, growing as a part of me, consuming me in a way I'd never experienced. He'd been taken far too soon. The secret I wore on my finger was the only expression of reality I possessed. The rest was a shadow, fading as time ate slowly at the edges of thought.
The tears fell freely, to stop them would be a feat far surpassing anything I was capable of. As the sun poured in through the window, cutting into my despair I raised a hand to my face to shield me from its rays. The tears fell onto the ring as I wept, my face well-hidden from the sun. I felt the ring shift ever so slightly.
Ripping it off my hand I threw it back into the oak chest. The air returned as my lungs took their first full breath since I'd triggered the latch at the bottom of the old oak chest. Perhaps some secrets were best left hidden.

The End

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