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How Like the Ring

Tolle Lege was born in Michigan but attended John Paul the Great Catholic University to study film before returning to his childhood obsession with literature. He is currently working to build up a critical mass of literature before seeking publication for half a dozen full-length novels.
In zero gravity he played a game with my wedding ring, throwing it at my finger and seeking to snare it, me trying to catch it on my outstretched finger. A game of horseshoes and hearts, he said, and we laughed.
How like the ring we were. Our ship was drifting through the stars, (A ring drifting towards another home,) passing billions of stars. When I first came on board, I knew that I would need a husband, a father for the children we would populate our new home with, and so amongst the passengers he and I drifted towards each other.
He told me he would always love me when he put it on my hand. He said he would take care of me, and I would have nothing to be afraid of.
How many times he has sent the ring towards me and I failed to catch it. How lucky I was when it landed on my finger that first time.
Like our ring so often has, our ship missed its course, and so for many months our arrival was delayed, and we began to prepare for the life we would be bringing into the world. Patrick, if it was a boy, Patricia if it was a girl. But like our ship, something in our love seemed to have shifted, and I found the messages he'd sent to his lover, the hidden plans they'd made together.
Strangely it was him that cried, and he begged me to forgive, so that when all I wanted was to die I had to choose between his so painful love, and... loneliness.
Now our spaceship drifts above an alien world, we've seen it on our screen, images of the place where Patrick will grow up, my child, and he drifts across our room from me, sending my ring drifting across the room toward my outstretched finger. How often it bounces off and spins away into the darkness, and we laugh at our little game, unhappy.
"I love you," he says, not in words but in looks, asking if I can say the same, and tell him I forgive him. I know what I would say if I could speak, but I look away, and he collects the ring to throw again. As it drifts towards me I wonder if I can ever say the thing he wants to hear, and I'm afraid. But the words are whispered in my heart, and the ring goes bouncing away into the shadows as I shudder at the pain.
How like the ring we are, drifting here in this empty space, a space in which our eyes can no longer meet because I am afraid.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017


There is power in a single poignant image. Whole films are made on the basis of such images, whole books too. I have an obsession with Biblical Literature, Tobit, the Psalms, Genesis, Revelations, and these do much the same, creating images that reflect and refract in a myriad circumstances, delivering through their reflections a truth that is as full as it is hidden so that only those with "ears to hear" can find their message. I'm not an incredible flash fiction writer, but every now and again I am able to capture one of those images that bounce around throughout our lives, coming back to us again and again as if they are trying to say something to us. Whispering in our ear that there is more to our world than meets the eye. I live for those moments, and when I write, I try to capture the same sense of wonder that I find in gazing upon reality. I hope that this piece has inspired in you some of that same bit of wonder at the world and lives that have been given to us. A beauty which requests of us a commitment to passing it on to others.

- Tolle Lege

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