“Tate, hold out your hand.”

I did, and James worked the bag open with his fingers. Then he tipped it carefully over my hand.

Three rings fell into my open palm.

I stared at them. Sebastian stared at them. Then we looked at James.

“White gold,” he said, blushing slightly. “Fourteen carat.”

I picked one up with my other hand and examined it. Very simple and elegant, it had a brushed texture in the middle and a polished outer edge. Something caught my eye on the inner band – an engraved S in fancy cursive.

James took it from me and looked closer. Then he passed it to Sebastian. “This is yours.”

He picked up the other two rings and handed one back to me. “This one’s yours, Tate. I put our initials inside so we can tell them apart.”


– Varieties of Religious Experience, Chapter Seven (from rough draft)


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