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Hammered Gold

A story for the misplaced challenge

By Rachel RobbinsPublished 14 days ago Updated 14 days ago 4 min read
Photo by Peter Olexa on Unsplash

Phoebe was right. Finn doesn’t hoover under the sofa.

I’m amongst dust, fluff, debris. A foul smell is festering. A social climbdown.

Phoebe had been so proud of me. I’m hammered gold. I have a rustic look. One of a kind. And that’s what Finn used to say about Phoebe.

Over the years, I was admired as I forged a groove on Phoebe’s finger. Phoebe showed me off with her long, expressive hands and a giggle. I’ve been covered with stretched sleeves, wiping away salt. For a short while I was put in a drawer as Phoebe’s fingers swelled. Once Sinead was born I was resized, bent and hammered again. Phoebe said she loved me even more.

I miss my groove.

“Nearly thirty years,” Phoebe had spat at Finn.

The last few years had been slow, gentle, less laughter.

Five years ago, there was a week where I lived by the bathroom sink. I only saw Phoebe as she cried in the mirror pulling at her face. Her eyes were red-rimmed. Her skin was dull. Sinead had left for university and Phoebe didn’t get dressed for a week. Until one morning when I was pushed back onto lightly perfumed, handcreamed fingers. There was a hairdresser who couldn’t believe Phoebe was in her forties. Chemicals and hot air. Phoebe got back her life. Admiring me. Letting me settle into the groove on her finger.

Three months ago, that same eldest daughter and Phoebe sat in a darkened room together and applauded the words, “It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don't think you're good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we're always doing it wrong.”

Phoebe’s hand came to her face when she heard Margot Robbie tell an older woman, “You’re beautiful” and then her daughter held me, stroking her mother's fingers.

Two months ago, the house was full of people watching sport. The theme of the conversation was that a group of women were going to do something that the men couldn’t do. There were greasy snacks allowed from finger to mouth. There was glass clinking.

And then one month later, Phoebe met up with Finn in a café.

It was a lunch break for both of them. Phoebe had applied make-up in the bathroom at her office. Her hair was up high. She had smoothed her neck in the mirror, as if the action could take away the wrinkles. But she had smiled at what she had seen. That lopsided crinkle of a smile that Finn would put his fingers on, before kissing.

She twiddled and fiddled with me as she waited. And I felt her pulse rise as Finn approached, just like it had when I was first placed on her finger.

But I also sensed something wrong as she continued to play with me. Voices raised.

“Yes, I still love you. But I’m not in love with you.”

I felt her hand hit her chest.

“No Grace isn’t any younger than you. She’s a little bit older.”

“She’s fun. She’s interesting. We have adventures.”

Finn had bought Phoebe to a café so that she wouldn’t make a scene. I got wrenched from her hand and I was at the bottom of her handbag in one quick, decisive moment.

A week ago, I was joined by a fish wrapped in paper. I heard the engine of the car. Everything jolted. Gears changed. A song on a loop. “I’ll talk but you won’t listen to me…”, sung with cracked anguish.

Brakes were sudden.

There was a gentle sob, before the bag was grabbed. I rattled at the bottom with the sugar packets and spare coins. I was getting used to muffled sounds, but still missed the secure groove of Phoebe’s finger.

A doorbell. Answered.

Grace didn’t sound surprised to see Phoebe there. But I wanted to know: Was she tall? Was she glamorous? Did she have a groove on her fingers?

I heard the offer of a cup of tea, an exit through a door. I saw the hand with the grooved finger reach into the bag and grab the tissue-wrapped fish. I was caught up in the paper.

And now, I’m behind a sofa.

And Phoebe was right. Finn doesn’t hoover being the sofa.

But he does laugh now.

Short Storyfamily

About the Creator

Rachel Robbins

Writer-Performer based in the North of England. A joyous, flawed mess.

Please read my stories and enjoy. And if you can, please leave a tip. Money raised will be used towards funding a one-woman story-telling, comedy show.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (5)

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  • Reija Sillanpaa7 days ago

    A fab story! What a great idea to tell it all from the ring's viewpoint.

  • sleepy drafts8 days ago

    Wow!!! This was incredibly told. I loved how bit by bit, more was revealed. The ring's narrative voice was so captivating! Beautifully done. This was so heartfelt. 💕❤️

  • Heartbreaking, especially with that last line. Excellent storytelling, Rachel.

  • A. Lenae14 days ago

    What a stomach-lurching jolt at the end. I love the windblown, abstract feel of this as the ring pieces together details - some vague and some concrete. Heartbreaking story told in a unique voice. Also love the parallel between the ring missing the groove and Phoebe's own focus on the changes of her skin, grooves she analyzes. Beautiful job!

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