Twice a week, Marlon attends a krav maga class at the International School of Amsterdam in Amstelveen. Last Monday night, he stored his duffel bag in his friend Joris’s car while the class worked out in the parking lot, in full view of the cars. For the last ten minutes of the class, the instructor took them all back inside for one last exercise.
In those ten minutes, thieves smashed the window of Joris’s car, reached in and grabbed Marlon’s duffel bag. They took his office laptop, office and personal phones (an iPhone and Blackberry), house keys and bike keys, wallet with credit cards, ATM card, driver’s license and €50 in cash, passport and Dutch residence card, his office clothes including a leather jacket and his favorite leather Timberland shoes…
And his wedding ring.
Marlon called me from Joris’s phone after the theft and asked me to help get his cards blocked while he went to the police station to make a report (no transactions or money taken, thank God). Then he turned up at our doorstep, with nothing but the sweaty gym clothes on his back.
Wearing the saddest, most heartbreaking face I’ve ever seen, he said nothing and simply held up his bare finger where his ring had been. I pulled him inside, hugged him and cried. Knowing how crushed he was, I whispered: “Don’t worry, you’re still married to me.”
Since then, friends have pointed out that he was lucky that nobody was hurt and I agree. I suppose in the overall scale of loss, having these essentials stolen is just a giant pain. Marlon took the last day and a half off to start replacing the items that were lost. The office laptop and phone were the easiest to replace, being reissued within a day; the Dutch residence card and Philippine passport will take anywhere from 4 to 9 long weeks. Goodbye business trips (and tag-along weekends) to Berlin, Paris and Marbella.
The ring… not so easy to replace. Our wedding rings were simple and inexpensive, and I can probably get the same ring from the same shop when we fly home to Manila for Christmas. But wedding rings are never just about the ring, are they?
He’s thinking about getting a tattoo on his ring finger now, so he can never lose it. I loved the idea and was thrilled at the idea of getting a matching one for myself. Then I remembered: I’m pregnant! No tattoos! Oops.
Friends suggested we make calls to pawnshops; thankfully in the Amsterdam area, that list is mercifully short. (If someone suggested that I call all the pawnshops in Manila, I would say it would be easier to fall on a sword.) Others suggested we keep an eye on Marktplaats (the Dutch eBay) in case it turns up there.
The Dutch policewoman who prepared his police report emailed him (police with email! So first world!) had the best suggestion of all. “When you get a new ring, just celebrate your marriage again and throw a big party!” Smart and sweet, so unlike police in my corner of the world. But hey, that sounds like a perfect fifth wedding anniversary.
Have you ever lost anything as precious, or had it stolen? How did you deal with it and did you ever get it back?
Ring photo taken on our wedding day by Mango Red.