Monday, August 3, 2009

Farewell, my ring

It's with a certain amount of shame that I relate this next little story. A few weeks ago, right around the time I was celebrating my one year anniversary of moving to New York, I sacrificed a ring of mine to the subway gods and almost lost a finger.

The C train arrived at my stop just as I was running down the stairs to catch it. Normally, you can tell right away whether or not you can make it through the doors. Either the train has just pulled up as you reach the bottom of the stairs--in which case, go go go like a 1960s cage dancer--or the doors are closing before you get through the turnstile--in which case, bad luck and misfortune will infest your pathetic soul for all eternity and you have to wait for the next train.

This time was different. The doors were standing open when the BF and I went through the turnstile. It was a cruel invitation from fate to either wait like a cowardly sucker for the next train, or make like Urban Ninja and leap through the doors just as they closed. Being a 1-year-New Yorker, I went for the latter and thrust my hand into the doors to hold them open.

Subway doors aren't like elevator doors. They don't open automatically when something obstructs them, not unless said something has enough leverage to force them open again. As the glass and rubber maw closed down on my soft, fleshy fingers, I could hear BF crying out behind me, "Let it go! Let it go!" As though I'm in control of this situation. Admitting defeat, I tried to withdraw my hand and let the train go, and then--my ring got stuck.

It was the oh-shit moment of the century. For two horrifying seconds, all I could think about was my Girl Scout horseback riding instructor, who told us on the first day of classes to never wear jewelry to the ranch and drove her point home by showing us the stumpy gaposis on her hand where her ring and pinky fingers used to be before her ring got caught on a gate.

That was going to be me: Ole' Subway Stumpy, missing my middle finger because I didn't want to miss the train.

Thank the subway gods that my ring was a big, plastic novelty ring and not a skinny little gold or silver ring. As the train started to pull away from the station, I yanked hard and felt the whole thing slip off, mercifully without my finger still in it. The train picked up speed and I bid farewell in my heart to its pretty blueness, sliding into the darkness of the underground.

The BF, seeing my face, actually took a few steps after it, obviously intending to pace the train and pull my ring out of the door. "You can still--!" he began.

I grabbed his arm. "No," I said firmly. "Let it go."

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