A seven stage writing exercise
|I wake up and feel very distant from myself. It takes me a moment to discover where I am. I can see the shapes around me in the moonlight streaming in through the skylight above my head. I know I'm in my living room. The anxiety I feel has left me in a state of breathlessness. It is a struggle to calm my racing heart. I am on the floor with a thin sheet covering me, my head resting on my folded arm as I lay on my side. My hair is wild and dances softly in the breeze from the ceiling fan. I feel my heart pounding in my throat as I stare at the t.v. on its stand before me. A red light blinks on the DVD player. Was I watching something? What has caused me such anxiety? Why was I awakened? The dream tugs at me and I recoil. I won't allow it to leave the fog of my subconscious to haunt my awareness. Something is horribly wrong. I know I am safe awake. The familiar shapes of comfort surround me. I slowly draw breath, calming my racing heart, silencing my screaming brain, seeking peace in the tumultuous violence of being startled to wakefulness. Was I startled or was I saved? Was I pulled from the dream or did I escape? The dark shape of the t.v. remains silent.
Dread fills me as I focus on the t.v. It's not that, truly, that catches my breath and holds it captive. It's just a machine, no danger there. It isn't the DVD player with its blinking red light, either, though I see it as an ally. "Stop. Stop. Stop. Danger. Danger. Danger." the red light calls out urgently. no. It's not the cause. I sit up and stretch the sleep kinks out of my body. I stand slowly and approach the stand holding the machine and the ally and I stare at the ring lying on top of the DVD player. It glows softly in the moonlight. No. Not the moonlight. It glows by its own light. "Stop. Stop. Stop. Danger. Danger. Danger." I know, you foolish machine! I take hold of the ring and lift it, gasping softly as the icy coldness of the metal burns into my warm fingertips. The glow intensifies and my anxiety matches it. Silently, I muse the darkness of the ring even as I see its light. The icy chill remains. My flesh, I know, can never warm its frigidness. I hold on despite the burning cold, despite my breathless pain and racing heart. I hold on because the ring demands I let go. I hold on in spite of all that begs me to do the opposite, defying my DVD player and its warning cries, my body and its reaction, my very soul. I hold tightly to the glowing ice ring in the moonlit midnight darkness of my living room.
As if punched in the heart, I recall the memory of you. I know I want to marry you. I said yes. I took the ring home. I took it off. Now it harms me. It burns. I can admit the desire of comfort a life with you promises. Do I dare reject out of fear? Do I dare say yes out of obligation? The ring flares and I feel its sting deep inside, feel its icy grip ceasing my heart. I said yes. Did I mean no? I do love you and I thought losing you was inevitable. But, then you asked and I said yes and accepted you and this ring of ice. It wasn't always ice. I want to be loved and safe and comfortable and yours. I just want to live a life with you...for all the wrong reasons. The fire of the ring brings its glow and it touches the warmth of my hand with ice. Because I just want what marriage brings without giving myself. I want comfort and for that, I said yes.
I lift the ring to my lips and kiss it softly and feel the true warmth of it. My mind flees and returns to that night when I met you. Kaitlyn had given me her engagement ring and wanted me to be her Maid of Honor. I said yes, but I knew the truth. There would be no wedding. She didn't love him. I was the fame and money she loved. As I held the ring and moved to return it to her, you and he walked in and I felt that deep hatred for myself that comes whenever I feel attraction and hope. You smiled and introduced yourself, as the large diamond cut cruelly into my flesh. I dropped the ring, you retrieved it, and you knew it was hers, but you returned it to me with a flourish and that devilishly beautiful smile, a crooked half smile that caused my heart to leap and dance and my soul to soar and sing, while my mind scoffed. I handed her the ring and turned to go, but you wouldn't let me leave. You captured me then and I always expected you to leave, but you asked me to marry you instead of abandoning me, and I said yes.
There was always a dark side to Kaitlyn and she showed it then, laughing loudly and making a comment about how I was their frumpy friend that they kept along for comparison. He laughed, too, because he is as shallow and hard as she is. I wanted to throw my drink in her face and I nearly did, but you stopped me, your eyes locked on mine, as you focused on keeping my hand steady and leading me away from her and the wretched ring. I can still see that ring, even now, with its large and garish diamond, something to speak of the wealth of the wallet and the frigidity of their relationship. I remember saying so and you smiling gently and offering me something. What was it that you offered me? Your hand? Your heart? You tell me so often that you loved me the minute you met me and that you fell fully when you heard me speak the first time. It was the same for me, I fear, and that is what made that next moment so very powerful. As you laughed, I leaned forward and kissed you, quickly, lightly, moving back in shock, expecting a dark reaction. But, no, your eyes sparkled and you thanked me. I asked why you were doing so and you said, "Because I needed to know that you were real and that kiss, well, it proves you are not just a figment of my imagination, and I am so glad." Then you kissed me and it was not quick or light and I didn't resist.
I slip the ring on my finger and can see you proposing again. The ring soothes my flesh, which is suddenly feverish. I am inflamed with the recollection of my desire to flee while you sought to find me. the games I played, the way I fought, while love came to unlock my heart and I resisted as you persisted. I stare at the ring in the moonlight, moving it slowly, letting the moonbeams dance within the diamond. It is magical in this moment and the darkness wanes, the anxiety flees. I said yes...and not because of who I am or who you are, but because of who we are.
I climb the stairs slowly and return to the bedroom, leaving the vaulted ceiling, moonlight, and t.v. behind. The lamp is on by the bed and the soft glow of it causes the remnants of the anxiety to flee. I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at the white gold wedding band as you breathe evenly, undisturbed by my night wandering. Our one year wedding anniversary is tomorrow and I love you more now than I did the day we said I do. I am not afraid of tomorrow. I said yes. I still do. And I'm still yours.
June 11, 2018