Behind Romance

by Huge Liu

It was a delicate ring. Made from white platinum, it has curved interior providing a smoother feel on the finger. Anyone who saw the ring could imagine how carefully the skillful craftsman polished it. Besides, an encrusted small diamond imbued it with a touch of luxury. But above all, the most special part of it was the words engraved outside — Tom’s only love.

For years, this ring had been the best symbol for Mrs. Smith’s happy marriage. Ever since she received it, it had been the most valuable jewelry for her. Indeed, she had an ideal family which most women in the world dreamt of. Tom Smith, the husband, was a successful insurance agent who was extremely considerate and always had an extra plan for everything, which for years guaranteed the security of the family. And they had a lovely daughter named Jenny. Although the couple had been married for 20 years, Mrs. Smith could still remember clearly that special day when Mr. Smith proposed to her and the romantic love story behind the ring.

20 years ago, both Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith were still youth at their middle 20s and Mr. Smith just started his career as an insurer. Young Mrs. Smith was the famous beauty in her town and numerous young men had the dream to date with her. But Mr. Smith was that very lucky dog. At a Saturday night he asked Mrs. Smith out for dinner as they usually did on the weekends. It was not an expensive or luxury restaurant but a lovely one. The wall was decorated with water colors and on every table stands a vase with beautiful roses. They ate and chatted happily and out of a sudden, he presented that ring in front of her. Surprised and moved, Mrs. Smith accepted the ring.

These memories never faded in her mind as the ring was a good reminder for her. What she liked most about the ring was the words engraved outside. Whenever she saw these words unintentionally or deliberately, her heart was melted. How romantic her husband was! It must be boring to carve her name in the ring, she thought. Tom’s only love meant more to her.

She wore the ring wherever she went and never felt tired to tell people the story about it. If necessary, she would like to show people those tiny words. Usually people would cry with envy: “what a romantic husband you have!” this kind of respond was exactly what Mrs. Smith wanted. But Mr. Smith, if present, just kept smiling silently to others’ compliments when his wife was indulgenced in satisfaction and pride.

Jenny, the daughter, influenced by her parents, was dreamt of romance. Like her mother Mrs. Smith, she also considered her father romantic and was long to marry such a husband. However, among all the young man she had met, nobody had satisfied her. One morning she complained to her father Mr. Smith.

“Why is it so hard to find a romantic boyfriend?” Jenny laid on the sofa, exhausted while her father Mr. Smith was sitting next, reading his newspaper.

“What is romance in your view?” Mr. Smith asked her daughter casually and still stared at the paper.

“What you have done for mommy is romance I think.” Jenny replied.

Mr. Smith smiled.

“That ring is the best evidence. I wish I could have one like that.”

“It is a mistake, you know.” Mr. Smith put down the paper.

“What?” jenny did not expect the word “mistake”.

 “I chose to engrave” Tom’s only love “because at that time I thought more.”

 “What do you mean, daddy?” jenny sat up from the sofa.

“Do not forget that I am an insurance agent. It is an insurer’s nature to think about the consequence and had a rounded plan.”

Jenny was more confused now.

“Your mother was such a beauty and I was not competitive. If your mother broke with me, I could use that same ring to propose other women later. So I did not engrave your mother’s name in it.”

Jenny was speechless.

“Do not tell your mother the truth.” Mr. Smith continued his paper.

Then, Mrs. Smith came into the living room with a cup of coffee in her hand. Jenny looked at the bright ring in her mother’s finger and remained silence.

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