My wedding band is made from tungsten. I was told that tungsten would always retain its shine, wouldn’t scratch, and is extremely strong. In my mind it was indestructible, probably because I misheard what someone had once said about tungsten. So after only a few months I was disheartened to see that my wedding ring had a crack through it.
Disheartened is the wrong word. I graduated with a degree in English. Things like foreshadowing, story structure, symbolism and whatnot are analytical tools that have been drilled into my brain. When I see a movie and some kid finds grandpa’s old gun in a box of old things, along with a treasure map, I have the ability to yell out to the theatre “He’s going to follow the map, shoot the bad guy with that gun later and find that the real treasure is his relationship with his dad.” But I can shut it off, enjoy what I’m watching. Trying to figure out the ending kinda ruins everything along the way. It takes you out of the moment and you miss important things while trying to put together the puzzle. People don’t even do that while putting together puzzles. You’ll seldom hear someone say “It’s a tree! Figured it out! Tree, bitches! I win. And I’m not putting it together now.”
Where the analytical process can’t be shut off for me is in my regular life. So when I see that my tungsten wedding ring, the symbol of my marriage, is now cracked, well that frightens me.
Tungsten is used to make space shuttle rocket engine nozzles and armor piercing bullets. The wedding band symbolically stood for withstanding the intense heat of our love, and that my marriage will pierce my emotional armor. The author of “The Notebook” couldn’t have written it better. But now that the symbol is broken. Is my marriage in trouble? According to foreshadowing, absolutely.
“Stop being an idiot,” my wife tells me.
According to everything I’d learned from 19th century British novels, I thought our marriage was in for a tumultuous time. Mid-novel, I’ll be curled up, broken wedding ring clenched in my fist, falling asleep in a horse stable while it rains. Towards the end of the book, I’ll win my wife back after making my fortune at sea.
But I had to do research if this truly was the road ahead for me. I couldn’t think of any possible reason why my indestructible tungsten ring had suffered a crack. But after thorough due diligence (read: Wikipedia for two minutes) I found that tungsten is quite destructible. If you ever suffer a broken finger, unlike a titanium ring which cannot be removed and would result in an amputated finger, tungsten can be cracked into several pieces simply by putting the ring in a vice and applying gradual pressure.
Ok. This makes sense. A few months ago, wanting to test the indestructibleness of my ring, I placed my ring and finger in a door frame and slammed the door shut on my hand. Didn’t feel a thing. Thinking back, that is definitely what cracked the ring. My marriage is safe.
Or is it? A month ago, a friend was watching a news special about the most haunted places in New England, and The Inn at Duck Creek, the venue where we held our wedding reception, was among them.
Now if cracked wedding ring was bad, haunted ghost marriage is way way worse. That’s not a symbol, or something you read between the lines. That’s the plot of a horror movie. I’d much prefer me sleeping in the horse barn to my wife’s head spinning around in the middle of the night, while speaking backwards Latin in a baby’s voice. We are definitely going to be supernaturally murdered.
Again, I did more due diligence (read: Trip Advisor) and found a few reviews that said that the Inn at Duck Creek was haunted by “harmless ghosts,” all former owners of the Inn, and that the Inn’s continental breakfast isn’t very good. Harmless ghosts is better than, say, any other kind of ghost. So our marriage is safe again.
Thinking about it, our marriage already has good structure and a solid storyline. Most movies are broken into 3 acts, 2nd act has two parts. The first act is the normal world. This is before any adventure begins. When my wife and I met and started dating, this was our normal world, the first act. The adventure began when I asked her to marry me and she said yes. The new world is our engagement. Our second act begins with us making the plans for the wedding. The wedding is our ticking clock. The deadline the audience is waiting for the entire movie. Halfway through the second act something changes; while still very much in love with each other, we called off the wedding and took time apart. Which leads to that end of second act montage, where we both miss each other very much and a Mumford & Sons song plays over scenes of us staring off into the middle distance. But with new perspective on things, we got back together, set a new date for the wedding, and got married. Leaving things open for a sequel for future stories (read: we’ll have ungrateful children).
As you can plainly see, I need to stop trying to extrapolate some larger literary significance or context from these events, especially since our marriage isn’t being written, it’s being lived. Just focus on the now, on the important questions like “Are we happy?” Not, “Was it bad that we stole that gypsy’s amulet, and is our first born going to be cursed because of it?”
Because yes, we’re very happy, we love each other very much, and this gypsy amulet is too awesome for us to care about consequences.