Thirty Days

Richard Childers

“It was on my finger when I went to sleep. Swear to Christ.” I tell her.

 “Then where the hell has it walked off too?” She’s started to tear up a little and her voice cracks towards the end of her question. I can only shake my head. Even I’m tired of hearing my bullshit.

We’ve spent the entire morning searching the house for my wedding band. 14 karat gold. Had it since we recited our vows 11 years ago. Pawn Man only gave me forty bucks for it. Just about enough to get a pill. Told her it must have fell off in my sleep, must have. Didn’t sleep real good last night anyways. Tossing and turning with my back hurting, legs and hips getting knotted up too.

“Maybe it slipped off in the car. It’s got to be there. I know I had it.” I don’t think she’s listening to me. Just looks to be up and gave out. I know I got to stop. Know I got to get help. Might start going to the suboxone clinic. Might help calm the Gorilla. I hate to wait in line with those junkies though.

“I ain’t looking no more.” She says.

I wish she’d look for just a little longer. Even though I know we ain’t gonna find no ring; ain’t no ring to find. Done give it to the Pawn Man and done snorted it up. I’ll get it back though. Pawn Man give me thirty days. Thirty days and just got to pay a little interest. I’ll find something to work at by then. Maybe even good work. If I could get off these oxys I could find some real good work. Job outside doing construction, stretch my legs and walk the ache out of ‘em. Gotta find something though. Gotta do something. Hard work is a whole a lot harder when you get pill sick. Never been so thirsty in my life. Never had to shit so bad neither.

“I’m fixin’ to head out and look in the car. I just about know I’ll find it out there.” I zip my jacket up and wait for a response, but she don’t say nothing. Christmas is next week.

“You and me both know that ring ain’t in that car.” She says. She’s flipping through the channels on the TV when I shut the door behind me.

It’s cold and gray outside. The trees look like skeletons reaching up. It hasn’t snowed yet this winter, but everything’s still frozen. I open the driver door to the Honda. Its paint is peeling and I wonder how many more miles it has in it. I half sit in the doorway of the car, one leg in and one kicked out in the driveway. The car’s belly is rusted out. If the ring had fallen off while I was driving it would’ve fell straight through to the passing road. Then what would make the difference. Pawn Man or the road, we still ain’t got it.

Richard Childers is from Estill County, Kentucky and works at Berea College as the Appalachian Male Advocate and Mentor. He has had short fiction appear in Limestone Journal, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, as well as Still: The Journal.