Annie didn’t know if she wanted the ring. It had appeared one day on her dresser, but it didn’t scare her. It was beautiful: sapphire rhinestones embedded in a rose gold band with a silver filigree on the front.
It fit, too. Or, at least, it had the first time she tried it on. She hadn’t tried it on since then. Not because she was scared, of course. Well, she wasn’t scared of the ring, specifically. She just, wasn’t ready. She didn’t feel ready. Although, she wasn’t entirely sure what ready meant, but she knew it didn’t apply to her. Not in this moment.
So, she passed it again on her way out of her room.
Her mother was at the kitchen counter, chopping nothing on the cutting board. “Hello, mother.”
She doesn ’t look up. “You’re going to be late for school.”
That’s all she says. All she ever will say. Annie nods and walks to the front door. It was an accident. “I love you, mom.” She tries.
“You’re going to be late for school.”
Annie sighs and continues out of the door.
It was an accident. Annie would never have actually wanted something like this to happen, but the ring… She didn’t know to resist it at first. As soon as it appeared, she had tried it on. And, well, the world changed.
Not dramatically, of course. It was more like Annie’s world changed. On the inside, she felt changed. Different. Powerful. And so she had it on that day when she came out of her room. Her mother was chopping fruit for her smoothie, and she spoke those seven words Annie had heard so many times in her life. You just never stop saying that, do you? She said to her mother.
And her mother paused, head cocked to one side. Her eyes flashed, the same sapphire as the ring, and she went back to chopping. Annie thought nothing of it until her mother didn’t stop when she reached the end of the banana. Just chop, chop, chopping away at whatever is in the knife-line.
Speaking of which, Annie rounds the counter to make sure the cutting board is clean, and her mother’s hands are empty. She winces as she looks at the bandages on her mother’s fingers. That day, when she didn’t know what she had done, she didn’t know to stop her mother until she realized she could no longer hear the sharp sound of the knife hitting the board.
Annie shakes the memory away and grabs her backpack off the couch. “I’m sorry, mom.” She whispers. She would change her back, though.