• By Sophia Lovell (she/they)
  • Art “Tarnished” by Sophia Lovell (she/they)

You left your rings at his house.

One is silver. Thick. Made from a spoon’s handle. It was made by a high school student. Some program about teaching students responsibility and entrepreneurship. It has a flower imprinted into it, swirling around the edges. You wear it on your pinky, sometimes on your thumb.

He has your rings.

He asked you to take them off. Was that before? Or after? It doesn’t matter. The wind whistles around you. And you hear the echo of his voice reverberate in the back of your skull. Co n torted moans. Violent whispers.

You text him.
I think I left my rings.

The second one is beaded. Black and white to look like flowers. You fiddle with it a lot. Constantly. It leaves an imprint on your ring finger when you take it off. In fact, you can see it now. You trace the ridges of your finger with your other finger. Engraved: permanent marks on your skin. Just like the print etched into your thighs. From his couch made of carpet. Itchy.

The itch turns to chills: Tiny crystal fissures piercing your collarbones and navel; your skin stands up, erupting in tiny bumps. The lacey white cotton sears your skin, and you grip and grasp, rip the threads from your body—you’ll s h e d y o u r s k i n a n d s t r i n g i t u p t o d r y .

A twinkle of your phone.
Want to come back?

Go back?

Back. A hitch of bile leaps through your esophagus. You lurch forward and your lunch meets the grass. You can still taste him. Stale cigarettes. Attemptedly masked by spearmint.

The third one is thinner. Still silver. Fake Cartier. You bought it off amazon.

Yes. You’ll go.

You left them on his bedside table. He had knocked them off and they had rolled under his roommate’s bed. One swift bludgeon of his hand. Was it on purpose? Close your eyes. And you see them fly across the room. Close your eyes. And you see his face flash across your vision.

He took your rings.

You wear them everyday. Your fingers feel empty without them. Something is missing. Everything is s h a t t e r i n g.

One more block. One more block and it’s over. You grip a lamppost to steady yourself. Fingers curl around. Like his did. Around the nape of your neck. You feel the pressure. Heavy.

You text him.

He appears behind the glass with a grin. △
How has your night been?