The 4th was smack dab in the middle of a ferocious heatwave this year and we were invited to a barbecue. I was very pleased about this. My standards for a joyous fourth of July can be easily achieved by a hotdog and good company (bonus points for fireworks.)
We arrived right on time with a giant green salad, an aquamarine igloo cooler (20 bucks at Target!) and a bottle of tacky yet satisfying bombpop flavored vodka to be mixed with lemonade.
The cast of characters was the same ol' crew. It isn't lost on me how special it is that I still get to see so many college friends so often and even better that my husband enjoys their company too. There was one couple in attendance at the party who were new to group. A friend of a friend and her husband who had just had his eyes dilated prior to arrival at the outdoor party, grumbling about his eyes as he stood in the blazing sun.
Things were going well, we had eaten our festive lunch outdoors before the politics talk got almost as unbearable as the sweat sliding down our bodies into every crack and crevice and we went inside to indulge in the red white and blue dessert. As we sat around the living room, hot and full and fading fast we began to discuss the possibility of walking to the beach. It had been discussed on the facebook event and we were prepared with bathing suits. I turned to Ryan during this conversation and said to him "If we go swimming in the ocean you should probably take your wedding ring off, you don't want to lose it." I am already in the habit of taking my rings off whenever I go swimming and just figured it was worth reminding Ryan.
"That's stupid!" piped up dilated-eye man (DEM) I looked up, a little confused because I hadn't been talking to him. "What do you think knuckles are for?!" he scoffed. In the moment I didn't think much of it other than to say "I dunno I've heard a lot of stories about people losing rings in the ocean." He made some other dismissive remark but because I felt superior to him anyways I didn't really let it bother me. Ryan and I both changed into our suits, removed out rings and stuck them in my purse.
Normally Ryan isn't easy to coax into swimming, usually the water is too cold for him no matter where we are. But this Fourth of July was so hot that we all waded into the water quickly, relieved by how refreshing (if not sort of gross) it was. The beach we were at was a little cove and not normally something I would consider swimming in if my face weren't melting off. The water was so murky you couldn't see the bottom no matter how shallow you ventured. The bottom was pure slimy muck. We all waded out as far as our shoulders and necks, laughing and joking. The women (myself included) were making big shows of asking our partners to hold us up so that we could float without touching the grotesque depths. DEM's wife hadn't brought a bathing suit (actually, neither had he) but while he had opted to just wade out in his shorts, his wife had stayed on the shore, morosely watching us all.
I was standing in a little clump with Ryan and one half of our hosts having a funny conversation which I have now completely forgotten when I did a little spin to see the rest of the group behind us. I heard the words "Oh! Oh my god!" And the second I laid eyes on the source of the sound I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.
"Oh shit" I said to Ryan and my friend as I whipped around, "I can't watch this."
"What!?" They asked urgently.
Reader I'm sure you know what happened. DEM's wedding ring had slipped off his finger and sunk down to the dark and disgusting mud.
The rest of our crew began to try and help recover the ring. While Ryan and I made the nervous emoji face at each other. We paddled over to see how we could help and my friend and I offered to walk to the shore to see if any kids or other beachgoers had goggles without alerting morose wife who was still oblivious at the shore.
DEM to his credit caught on to the seeming karmic quality of the event right away "Oh my god leave it to me to be the guy making fun of this only to have it happen to him."
I turned sheepishly to my friend as we tried to calmly walk toward the shore so as not to arouse suspicion, "Sometimes I think I'm a witch."
She didn't disagree with me. And while logically I know that I'm not that powerful...I sometimes wonder. In moments like these especially. It seems too perfect to be coincidence (not that I would wish something as terrible as this on anybody!) for it not be a result of some cosmic lesson or higher power, or spiritually charged 28 year old who should never, ever, be questioned.
In the end they of course did not find the ring, and I felt genuine sympathy as he trudged toward the shore to tell his wife the news. I can only hope it wasn't me.