“She might not live.”
That’s what the surgeons told Michael, way back in 2011, after I was burnt.
They asked him if he wanted to see me, but warned him I looked different (my head was the size of a pumpkin and they’d shaved it).
He thought: If Turia’s going to die, I want to remember her how she was, with long dark hair and her big smile and her full lips.
And then he had a second thought: If she survives, I’ll marry her.
I survived and, unbeknown to me, using an inheritance from his Nan, Michael bought a ring from a charming shop in Kununurra; the diamond in it was even from the mine where I’d worked as an engineer.
Fast forward four years, and Michael’s proposing to me in the Maldives and I’m saying yes and we’re going midnight snorkelling with manta rays.
I’ve always loved diamonds – they’re literally the hardest stuff on earth. But despite my affinity for them, I’ve always thought it was weird that a mineral almost exactly the same as graphite is worth so much money.
So, where’s my ring now?
When I went to the south of France, it was around my neck, on a necklace, accompanied with a very bourgeois pearl that we’d bought in Broome. Fancy, but still with that Aussie twist, y’know?
On the way to the airport in a taxi, I was swinging my ring/necklace back and forth in front of Hakavai and laughing at his grunts and squeals of delight. It was only when I started to walk through our departure gates that I realised I had left it in the bloody taxi.
So I did what anyone would do in this situation.
I hid from Michael that I’d lost the ring and made up vague excuses for months for why it was no longer around my neck (‘It doesn’t suit what I’m wearing,’ ‘I’m getting it cleaned,’ ‘I’ve read I need to dry out my diamond so it’s in the sun drying.’).
Inevitably he worked it out, and inevitably he was annoyed.
Now, I lose stuff all the time. If I’d wanted to make 100 percent sure I had my diamond ring forever, I could have never worn it and kept it in a safe my whole life. But instead it had a great (albeit short) life. It was with me through the best times – it came to Tahiti, the Maldives, watched me finish at Ironman Kona, walked the Kokoda Track with me and, best of all, it was there to give Hakavai a metallic welcome to the world.
At the end of the day, life is not about the ring or whatever precious commodities you have squirrelled away.
Life is short. Go and enjoy it.
And remember that diamonds and other ‘valuable’ stuff only have the meaning that we give them.
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