For the Rest of Forever

Here’s the gut-wrenching, heart-shattering secret.  When you’re not around, I slip the ring you gave me off my middle finger and slide it onto my ring finger.  I pretend you’ve proposed, and I’ve said yes, that we’re past the new beginnings and the tears of joy and onto the forever happily ever after.  I know some day, you will get down on one knee, and I know you will say something that will sweep me off my feet, and make me cry because even when you sing me our songs, I cry, but until then, I slip this ring off in the privacy of my days without you, and I slide it onto my ring finger.  I imagine myself being your “Mrs.”, and to be completely honest, I am so embarrassed to admit this to myself because Lord knows, I never saw myself as wife or lover or mother.

But now all I want is to be yours for the rest of forever.

I have an ex who told me when there was snow on the ground, I would be wearing a red satin dress that skims the snow, my hair in curls, and his tobacco-stained hand would be holding a ring for me to promise me the world.  It was his dream, not mine.

I have an ex who described the park with the trees all festooned in ribbons with performers at the gates, breathing fire and twirling ropes of fire like hula hoops.  He told me he loved me, but when he raised his fist to bash my head in, it was my fault, not his because I brought him to the edge.  But when he bought me a ring, I said “no”.

I have an ex who promised me “forever” and “with all the love the stars contain” and now, she doesn’t even remember my name except for late night phone calls explaining who she is now and who she was then, I have letters we wrote one another from a thousand miles apart, photographs I took when we had our prom, and memories from so long ago.  Now, she is engaged to another.  And my heart is not wrapped around hers, not for a minute.

But, baby, don’t you see all I want is you?  The hand I want to hold for the rest of forever is yours.  The love I want to spellbind me for the rest of forever is yours.  The body I want to wrap around me like a blanket of love is yours.  I want to keep you.  I want to keep this.  I have never seen a future quite so bright, even when I tried to squeeze my eyes shut and imagine; now, I don’t have to imagine because you promise me you will never tire of me, you swear you will always love me, but damn it, babe, your actions speak louder than words, and when you scoop me up into your arms and stare down at me like I’m special or something, I know you’re not going anywhere, and you make up my mind for me.

You are the one I want to grow old with; you are the one I love, the one who calms me when my mind rages or I wake up sobbing.  You are the one who comforts me through my storms; you are the one who excites me, who invigorates me, who makes my passions scream out your name.  You are all I need.  You are the hand I want to hold for the rest of forever.

Don’t ever forget that.

-L.G.

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