It’s a beautiful morning on Maui’s south Kihei Road, a beachfront lined with palm trees swaying in the tropical breeze. The offshore waves are regular and gentle, making it a perfect spot for learning to surf, lulling me into believing everything’s going to be fine.
Mike, the surfing instructor, teaches me how to pick the right wave, orient my board perpendicular to the wave, paddle up to speed, and then stand up. It looks easy on TV, but I wipe out several times before catching my first wave. I balance on the board and ride it unsteadily into shore. A large blond woman blocks the channel, holding her phone out to take a picture of her husband. I yell at her to get out of the way but she walks right into my path. I try to avoid her but lose control of the board which shoots up and hits her in the head. I tumble into the water, cushioning the fall with my left hand. When it hits bottom, my wedding ring slips off.
I stand up and apologize to the woman.
“I’m OK,” she says, holding her head. Her son and husband help her back to shore.
I return to the spot where I lost the ring. I search in two feet of water, sand obscuring the depths. I try for several minutes but can’t see bottom. In the afternoon, I continue the search. Nothing.
Back at the condo, I tell my wife, Lisa, I lost the ring. “Oh, honey,” she says, very disappointed. We’ve been married for 28 years, the ring a concrete symbol of that union. It’s hard to predict how a spouse or partner will react to the loss of a ring. There are superstitions around losing rings. Sometimes it’s no big deal; other times