A friend of the Lady of the Ring drops by for a cup of tea and a chat. “I have the most exciting news,” says the friend as she takes her left hand out of her trouser pocket and holds it out for the Lady to see. “I don’t think I understand,” says the Lady tentatively, wary of saying the wrong words and spoiling her friend’s happy mood. “Oh,” says the friend, giggling nervously, “it’s the ring, silly. It’s a new ring.” The Lady takes her friend’s newly ringed hand in her own two hands, and squints down at the gold band and its sparkling jewel. “It’s the new me,” says the friend, “it’s a ring that fits so much better than the old one, and it makes me happy to look at it.” The Lady pours another cup of tea, sipping slowly and staring out at the green depths of the garden in which they are sitting.
Soon they finish their tea and the friend says goodbye. Her new ring seems to twinkle in farewell, and the Lady could swear that when she held her friend’s hand she could feel the ring say something in a French accent, and she could feel someone kiss her on each cheek, three times. “It’s so different, isn’t it?” whispers the friend as they stand by the front gate, “It’s from Europe, you see. European.” At the very last minute, just as her friend is about to drive off, the Lady whispers to her through the open car window, “But what about your other ring? You know, the old one?” “Oh Pfft....” answers the friend, “I put it away. It just wasn’t right for me any more, it didn’t make me happy. But the kids still take it out and play with it occasionally.”
The Lady spends the rest of the afternoon sitting in the garden and watching the sun set. As the stage set darkens, the mosquitoes begin to hum around her garden seat, but she remains there, unmoving. Soon, a short bald man arrives at the back door of the Lady’s house, and the light which falls from the open door illuminates the Lady in a strangely theatrical manner. The man laughs and says, as he walks towards his Lady, “Oh, I see, it’s going to be a dramatic evening.” He sits beside her and asks how it is possible that she is not being eaten alive by mosquitoes. She sits beside him and asks how it is possible for her friend to have found a new ring so quickly.
“What?” exclaims the man, “She has a new ring? But...What happened to the old one?”
“Ah...well...apparently the old one is occasionally given to the children to play with.”
“To play with?”
“Yes, you know, pretend games...dress-ups...that sort of thing.”
“But that ring was real before, how did it suddenly become an imaginary plaything?”
“I have no idea,” replies the Lady, “But it’s going to take me a bit of time to get used to this type of magic.”
“All right,” said the Lady’s beautiful man, “So can we go in and have dinner now?”