This painting is in my new book. The following words are not.

365 days after she was gone, I took off my wedding ring to see what my hand would be like to be without it. Single.

The skin of my finger had grown thick around it, hugging the ring and, when I tugged and cajoled the three interlocked gold Cartier bands off, the knuckle was distorted and misshapen.

The next night I had a dream that Patti asked me where my ring was. I told her a lie to explain. I don’t remember the details, just the feeling.

A week later my ring finger looks normal again but on closer inspection the skin is paler, softer, and the outline is still faintly there. But only I can see it.