When I was 17 years old, I walked into a jewelry store and spotted an Irish Claddagh Ring. The gold band shimmered inside the glass case, luring me to liberate it from entrapment. I stepped closer and bend my knees. The glass now only inches away. I inhaled and exhaled, clouding the glass with every breath.
From close distance, I could admire the detailing of the ring. One small hand reached out from the right side and another from the left. Both thumbs clasped the heart that lay in the middle. Atop the heart was a crown, etched with diagonal lines. The heart was the centerpiece. The hands the strength. The crown representing the importance of our beating, loving hearts and how they must be exalted.
The jeweler cleared his throat as I squatted, still worshiping the ring. “Do you want to see it?” He queried. I nodded before standing straight and extending my right hand, palm up. Seconds later, the ring was in my possession. I held the tiny ring which now lay in between the creases of my palm. Too tiny for my ring finger, I thought, frowning as I realized it wouldn’t fit. I pushed it away, rejecting it’s minuteness, but the persuasive jeweler motioned to my pinky.
“It would surely fit there,” he suggested, working for the sale. I picked up on his desperation and shook my head stubbornly, putting down the ring and turning toward the exit sign. “Do you know what the ring means?” He pried, trying to regain my interest. My brows raised with curiosity; I’ve always been a sucker for symbolism.
The jeweler began sharing the meaning of the Irish Claddagh Ring. The hand of the ring which holds the heart denotes friendship and unity. “The heart”, he explained while pointing at the center, “signifies love and the crown loyalty.” Also, he continued as I leaned it closer, many people use the ring to state their relationship status. Depending on the direction of the heart, it can signify singlehood or commitment. If you are in a relationship, the heart faces the wearer, indicating that their heart is occupied. Now, if a person is single and ready to mingle, the ring is reversed, meaning that their heart is available for courtship.
History lesson over and my desire to live that fairy tale compelled me to purchase the ring. I picked it up, placed it on my pinky finger – heart facing the world – and waited for the man who’d reverse the ring and fulfill it’s meaning.
This occurred on January 17, 2011. I sat across from my date, whom had already won my heart after only three magical outings, when he pointed at my Irish Claddagh Ring. I told him I bought it at age 17 then recited the anecdote of how the ring came into my possession. Once finished, he held my gaze and smiled. He extended his hand and touched mine, fingertips lingering on my pinky. I blushed, giddy from excitement, my gut churning as if foretelling a storybook ending.
“Are you seeing anyone else?” He asked, fingers stroking my hand. I shook my head and asked him the same question. He said no. He didn’t want to see or be with anyone else but me.
“I feel the same,” I replied, batting my eyes. And that’s when I became the Queen of my Irish Claddagh fantasy. My date pulled the ring from my pinky, turned it around, and placed it back on my finger. He was now my boyfriend and the ring shimmered brightly.