The man held out the sparkling band of gold and demanded to know where she had got it.
Lydia stuttered her way through the old, family story. His piercing eyes made her feel like the ground below her would crumble. What was going on? Why was he so angry? But her entire world fell away when he shook his head and said, ” You’re mother lied to you.” It was just the start of a unbelievable family secret.
Lydia Madison had grown up a single child. Even though life was hard, her mother always made time for her and made her feel loved.
It might have been tough sometimes, with long hours and evenings with no bedtime stories, but they always made it through to the other side. There were always birthday gifts and the occasional surprise “just because”. One of these gifts would change her world.
Full Of Joy
She had grown up into a woman who loved her own baby girl as fiercely as her mom loved her.
Times where happy. She had married the love of her life and had a successful career on top of it all. Things seemed perfect, until a few weeks later when they got a devastating phone call.
Lydia’s strong, beautiful, thoughtful mother had passed away.
It was out of the middle of known where and therefore made the shock and mourning all the more crushing. It took weeks before she was able to go through her mother’s things. There wasn’t much. Most went to donations. But there was one thing left just for Lydia.
It was her mother’s favorite ring. For as long as Lydia could remember, it had always rested on the mom’s elegant fingers.
It wasn’t just something she had admired while growing up, it came to be sort of a lucky charm for the family. So when she found it in a little box, she let out a sigh of relief. However, she had no idea of the long history that came with this ring.
According to Lydia’s mom, she had found the ring in 1945 when she was just 12 years old.
She had found it in a field close to a place she had worked cleaning for pocket money. She had kept it with her all this time – attributing all her future luck with that one fortuitous moment. But the story didn’t end there.
The intricate circle of metal was a reminder of every wonderful moment Lydia had spent with her mother.
It was a symbol of the love and family bonds that she now held dear to her own children and husband. It was like her mom was there hugging her. All these beautiful memories would soon have one dark one fused to its lore.
Falling On A Bad Habit
Going to the bottle was something her mother had done when times got really tough.
Lydia started to see the warning signs in her own life, so she became determined to break the pattern and take up a healthier way of dealing with stress – running. One summer morning, she was sprinting down a dewy path far too fast.
Her feet slipped out from beneath her, sending her flying down the muddy slope.
She felt the lurching momentum bring her stomach into her throat. It was an automatic reaction to reach out with both hands and protect herself from the impact. It might have broken her fall, but it broke something else instead.
A Stupid Mistake
She couldn’t believe her eyes! Her mother’s ring was twisted and broken.
She walked home sobbing and cursing herself for such a careless, stupid mistake. Every part of her wanted to go back in time and forget the morning run. But now all she could do was figure out who could repair it. She had no idea those repairs would bring to light a long dark secret.
Fears And Plans
Lydia ran back to her house, deeply upset, she asked her husband to fix it but knowing how much Lydia loved it, he feared he might damage it further or make it too small for her.
Instead, he advised her to go to the jeweler to fix it. It was a clean break, and hopefully, one that could be amended easily. But there was no amending what Lydia was about to find out.
When Lydia and her husband and child arrived at the jeweler, she went straight up to the man at the counter and showed him the ring.
She was distraught as she explained to him what happened while asking him could he fix it. Without a word, the man took the rind from
her hand and examined it. Suddenly, he gasped.
He looked closer and declared in surprise, “I know this ring.”
Lydia, confused, asked him what he meant. She asked him again if he could fix it, but he was preoccupied with it. He ignored her question and asked, “where did you get this?” Perplexed, Lydia told him the story her mom told her. “Impossible!” he quipped. Then he ran to the back of the store.
He reappeared with an account book, traced his finger down the pages, and paused.
“Aha!” he said, “I knew it!” Then he sighed and looked at Lydia. “Your mother lied to you,” he said. His unexpected words pierced into Lydia’s heart like a knife. How dare he talk about her late mom like that. Tears formed as she demanded why he would say such a thing. What he said next shocked her.
Not Adding Up
If Lydia’s story was true, it would mean that her mother had found the ring back in 1952.
But, as the jeweler explained, the techniques that were used to make this particular ring were only discovered in 1965 — which meant that that year was the earliest that the ring could possibly have been made. Lydia’s eyes widened as the facts began to sink in.
Lydia suddenly remembered something. When she was a young girl they would walk past this jewelry store all the time.
They lived in a small town and this had been the only jeweler in the area. She always wanted to go in and look, but mother had always forbidden her from going in. And Lydia had never known why. But she was about to find out.
The jeweler told Lydia that the story her mom told her was impossible because the ring was created by his father and mentor.
He showed her the designs, and the ring’s ID number, on his account book. They were identical. Then he told her that this ring was created in 1965, not 1945. Her mom’s story couldn’t be true. But what he said next revealed a dark past hidden in a web of secrets.
The design of the ring was unique to this particular jewelry store – his father had made it and they owned the design.
And when the jeweler did a little more digging into the store’s archives, he made another discovery. He’d remembered something strange about this ring, so he pulled out a file of old records. What he revealed shattered Lydia’s world.
The jeweler twisted the ring, revealing a secret compartment that was designed to hold a secret message for the wearer — which still had a generic message that had come with the ring inside.
Lydia didn’t need more proof… the jeweler was telling the truth. But that wasn’t all. The next piece of information that he revealed was even more surprising.
He said that this ring was stolen from the store in 1966, they never found the culprit.
Lydia’s mind raced as she tried to remember where her mother was in 1966. Suddenly, she froze. Her world was unraveling and she didn’t know if her mother was the person she thought she was. 1966 was the year she was born.
What Did She Do?
She remembered her mom telling her that when she was small that she really struggled financially when she was born.
Her father had left her and her mother soon after. Did her mom steal this to save them from financial despair? Or because she couldn’t afford it? What else did her mom keep from her?
All She Had Left
Lydia looked at the jeweler, speechless. Her mind was racing as she wondered what he must think of her.
But even if the police were alerted, they couldn’t do anything, the crime happened so long ago. They couldn’t make her forfeit it. This was all she had left of her mom, even if she did lie to her. She must have had her reasons. Suddenly, the jeweler spoke.
He watched the shock and horror as Lydia tried to understand what was happening.
The jeweler took pity on her and seeing how much the old ring meant to her, he decided that the monetary value it would give him didn’t compare to the sentimental value it gave Lydia. Looking at her bewildered face, he knew that he had no intention of taking it from her. He sighed and began to speak softly.
A Kind Offer
The kind-hearted jeweler told Lydia that she could keep the ring.
He was able to make that call because he owned the store. He even offered to fix it at no charge and return it to her as its rightful owner. But, now that she knew the truth about the ring’s history, did Lydia still want it?
Lydia’s mind was racing. What other secrets had her mother kept from her?
She was devastated that she would never be able to find out now that she was gone. What else had her mother stolen? And what else did she have to resort to when her father had walked out? And now, she had to make a decision.
An Important Reminder
After a few moments of thought, Lydia decided that she had to make peace with the fact that there would always be secrets about her mother that she may never know.
But, more importantly, there was one thing she did know for sure: her mother would have done anything for her. So she decided to keep the ring as a reminder of that.