Life as an Extreme Sport


She looked out to sea. Then she said, “I threw my wedding ring overboard.”

Tom blinked, startled by the sudden admission. She continued watching the water for a moment, then turned to look at him. “Aren’t you going to ak why?”

“I guess you didn’t want it anymore,” he said carefully.

She considered that. “You’re right. I just got divorced. I figured it didn’t belong to me anymore. And I didn’t want to sell it or anything. It was jinxed.”

“I can see how you might feel that way,” he said.

“It’s so strange not to be wearing it,” she said, “Harry and I weren’t always happy – in fact, I guess we were unhappy a lot of the time. But he was my anchor. Being married kept me grounded.”

“Sometimes an anchor is a good thing,” Tom said. “And sometimes it just drags you down.”


The curtains were open and moonlight shown through the sliding glass door. Susan undressed quietly and pulled on her cotton nightshirt.

Lying in bed, she touched her lef hand. She could still feel the impression that the ring had left on her finger – a valley where the ring had been, a slightly callused ridge of flesh beside that valley.

She wondered what would happen to the ring. She imagined the circle of gold sinking in the dark water, buffeted by waves. Maybe a fish would eat it. Maybe someone would catch the fish and find the gold ring inside. She imagined that and smiled. The ring, which had brought her bad luck, might be someone else’s good luck.


“So how do you like Bermuda?” Mary asked. “It is what you expected?”

“Well, I don’t know that I expected anything in particular. I won this cruise in a raffle, you see, and it seemed like the perfect thing to do. I needed to get away…” She hesitated. “…because I’ve been having a very bad year.”

“Ah,” Mary said. “You needed a change of scene.”

“I needed something. You see, my husband…” She stopped, not wanting to get into it in detail. She considered lying, but given the reaction to her last attempt, decided against it. Besides, she didn’t want to lie to Mary.

“Don’t say another word.” Mary waved a hand, bracelet jangling. “I can tell you’re still sorting out that story.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your story, your version of what happened. The short version is simple: your husband did something dreadful and now he’s no longer your husband. But you are trying to put the right words and thoughts to that story, the right emotional tones and resonance. You aren’t ready to tell that story yet.”

Susan frowned. “You make it sound like I’m inventing what happened.”

“Of course you are.” Mary said. “You are reinventing what happened. Reinventing who you are. We all do that all the time. Sort out the past, rearrange it, make it a little betteer, git it a bit of a plot.” Mary shrugged. “Psychologists have done studies about human memory, and it turns out that people rewrite their memories all the time. You’re always at the center of your own story – so you might as well make yourself the hero.”

~Pat Murphy, Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell