As he walked away, his childhood sweetheart looked at his back, with tears in her eyes. She had grown tired of waiting for him and had got engaged last week. Her sense of responsibility refused to let her runaway with her childhood sweetheart into the sunset.
He recalled with much pain, that it had been quite a harassment to get the right ring for her. He laughed as he remembered his own discomfort at having to describe to the shop assistant exactly what kind of a ring he was looking for. He'd finally said, "The kind that professes love."
It had embarrassed him, and now the ring in his pocket seemed to make fun of him. He wished very much he could just throw away the damn thing. But it had cost him a fortune. It deserved a better burial.
When he got home that day, he found his cousin sitting on his doorstep, looking like a crazy person. When he saw his cousin, he tried to manage a smile. But the cousin got down to business at once.
"Why didn't you come to my engagement last week?" he demanded.
It was then he remembered, that he'd forgotten about his cousin's special day. He had been so wrapped up in finding the perfect ring. He apologized for not being there and asked to see a picture of his cousin's bride to-be. The proud cousin happily pulled out his smart phone and showed him a recent photo of himself with his beloved.
"Oh," said the man, recognizing the face of the woman. It was the same one he'd loved and worshiped all his years. Then he finally managed to smile.
He pulled out the ring from his pocket and handed it to his cousin.
"Use this for your wedding," he said, "Consider it a gift from your wayward cousin."
The ring was going to get the perfect burial. It would go to the person it had been destined for. But it wouldn't bear any connection to the one who'd originally got it. It had served its purpose and so had he, he thought, in her life.