Trace a Circle | Tobias Madden

The breadth of a ring finger seperates coincidence and chance.

Trace A Circle

By Tobias Madden

For The Brevity is What? Award


Deft, weathered fingers toy with the cool, band of gilded metal. Hooves clatter by on the cobblestones.

Moonlight glistens on the Thames. Elizabeth’s eyes are wide. Her Anthony is on one knee, a black velvet box open in his shaking hand.

Hot tears rolling down her wrinkled cheeks, a woman shrouded in darkness hurls the last sparkling vestige of her marriage into the freezing waves of the Atlantic.

Beeeeeeeeep – Joshua flicks off his detector. He crouches, the hot Sydney sun bearing down on him, and digs for what he always hopes will be some kind of treasure, and not just a surfer’s loose change.

“No, it’s not stolen,” laughs the pawnbroker. “Some Australian lad sold it to me. Been here for years actually.”
“How much?” asks Sam.

“She’s your ancestor, you know!”
Libby squints at the black and white image in her hand; she has never seen an actual photograph before.
“Grandma,” she whispers, “look at her ring. It’s exactly like my engagement ring!”
“Your ring? It was mine first,” Libby’s Grandma laughs. “Your Grandpa Sam bought it in America!”
Libby examines the inscription on the photograph. “‘Elizabeth Holloway, 1854.’ Grandma, it’s 200 years old!”
“Some things never fade, darling.”