The Romans believed that the fourth finger of the left hand was the beginning of the "veina amoris" - a "vein of love" leading directly to the heart. Tradition since then has held that women place a ring on the aforementioned finger promptly following an accepted proposal of marriage. Modern mores also require said women flaunt their newly acquired precious gem for friends and strangers to offer congratulations, while anyone in the ring's presence is bewitched into shrieking and leaping around like their primate cousins offered bananas.
I have anticipated this day for my roommate since the moment we pinky swore to move in together. She and her boyfriend had been together four years already then and she never denied her eagerness to walk down the aisle at some point in the near future. As her best friend, it naturally follows that I was well aware of these facts. However, as her best friend, I ignored them as I grew into a comfortable co-dependent existence with my kindred spirit. Many poor souls fall into this web, admiring and reveling in their playground of string until they spot the spider coming toward them.
The deadly black widow crept into my life via a text message sent in the early afternoon today. My roommate requested that I step out of class to call her, which I did immediately as I succumb to all of her requests, and it was then that I met the howler monkey. When I returned home for the evening I was greeted by a gargantuan rock strung to her veina amoris, weighing her hand such that I knew her previous serving experience's heavily muscled wrists must be coming in handy. We shrieked, we capered about, we picked wedding colors... we did everything convention dictates.
Why then, as I fall prey to the praxis demanded by society, does this nauseatingly sad emptiness burrow on the lining of my stomach? As delighted as I am for her, a selfish dejection continues shoving a boulder even bigger than the one on her finger into the pit of my throat. Today I feel as though I lost my best friend. Here is the commencement for shared custody of her time, phone conversations as opposed to dinner dates, and weekly chats in place of multiple daily dialogues. Granted, I also must begin consideration for my next living situation with the disappointing knowledge that nothing may ever be as grand as my current environment.
Our culture frowns upon such egocentric thoughts. I say we all cannot choose how we feel, and if more were open to disclosure of emotion that might violate a supposed norm or two, perhaps no one would ever have to feel alone in their own minds. I am sure that best friends everywhere have shared this experience with me, and I tell you all - I'm here with you. Still, whatever our feelings, I have no doubt that we will all be there to inspect our friend's ring when she tells us to look at the way her diamond glitters in the light, to hold her hair as she vomits out the superfluity of alcohol she has at her bachelorette bash, to smile at the hideous dress she selects for you as her maid of honor, and to hold her hand as you part for the last time you will ever walk out of your apartment together.