>symbolism gone a step too far

>I wear a toe ring on the second toe of my right foot. I know, everyone else wears it on the third toe- sue me. It didn’t look right there.

About a week before we left for SoCal this August my silver ring gave up the ghost. Providential timing, I thought – back to Laguna Beach I go. There’s this one particular shop I always get my toe rings at – it’s part of a little village of artsy shops right on PCH, home to a fabulous restaurant overlooking the water.

My dad tried to dissuade me from my shop loyalty… as we swept through the OC swap meet Saturday morning he pointed out every toe ring vendor.

“Nope,” I’d say, “Laguna Beach.”

And I had reason to be loyal – my last toe ring from there had lasted me four years; the one before that, three. I don’t think these are things one should be buying right and left.

So off we went one afternoon, swathed in the saltiness of ocean breeze, kissed by mist. I picked one out – a little thicker, a tad more ornate than the last one. I loved it. The shop owner remembered me. It felt so right.

Today, walking through the amber colored leaves not three months after that beautiful day, I felt something odd in my sock and I instantly knew – the ring was gone. Not just bent out, not just slipped off – gone. It’s in pieces. I felt them for blocks.

And silly though this may seem, I feel… loss. Somehow that silly little band of silver was a token, a reminder of the California I carry along with me. One look at it in the shower, or as I slipped on a flip flop or sock, and I was reminded, warmed – Laguna. Where we would go late at night in high school to drink sparkling cider and ponder the meaning of the world. Where so many boyfriends took me for romantic walks on the beach. The site of my fourteenth birthday party. The place I would meet sorority sisters for drinks during the summer. The place I drove, sobbing, the night I found out my parents were divorcing. The place that held countless bonfires, singalongs, kisses. My home.

Somehow the loss of that ring leaves me feeling loose, like I’ve come off my moorings. Like I’ve lost a little part of myself that’s now floating out on that surf, away from me.

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