His face trembles in my hands, melting into a mirage of colors, dripping to the ground. The picture falls face down on my bed, tattered and ripped along the edges, crumpled and water stained. I sit next to him, laying on my back. I stare off at the empty void above me. My lights are off. The doors are locked. Windows cracked just enough to let a lightless breeze in. The air is crisp with snow, and I know the carpet is getting wet but I don’t care. My fingers graze cold metal and I grip it tightly. Why did he have to go? Why couldn’t he just stay and fight like I did for him? Was our life together not enough? I twist the ring on my finger absently, realizing that it will never have the second, matching ring on it. I get up with shaking legs and open the top drawer of our dresser. The smell of him hits me like a ton of bricks, right in the face. Holding my breath, I reach blindly around, trying to ignore the feel of his shirts. I find the little velvet box with one ring from a set of two in it, remembering the last time I opened this drawer.
The dress's collar is too tight against my throat and I pull at the itchy lace right before the music starts. The steady rhythm is the only thing allowing me to walk. I march to the beat, lifeless, like a zombie. He's waiting for me at the alter and I hurry, wanting to feel him again. His eyes are closed. I wish he'd look at me, tell me how beautiful I am, hell, even cry a little. But no, he just keeps that dead look on his face. My heart squeezes painfully, and the wrong kind of tears run down my cheeks. The priest looks at me mournfully when I finally get there. I wrap my fingers around my soon to be husband's cold, stiff hand as I look out at the crowd one last time, a solemn sea of black. I turn my attention to him now, never taking my eyes off his face as I say my vows. I give a gentle squeeze in recognition of the response he can't give, and slide the ring on his swollen finger, then mine on my own. "I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the... groom." The priest has a hard time keeping the revoltion out of his voice. Ignoring it, I plant a soft, loving kiss on my husband's pale blue lips. He no longer smells like he used to. The priest allows me a moment before he begins unlocking the wheels on the coffin. I hold my husband's hand as we make our way down the aisle. This is not how I imagined this day two years ago. The rest flys by; lowering him into the ground, the prayers, and I don’t even know if I'm crying. I can feel nothing. I am home, except I'm not because home is 10 miles away under six feet of dirt. I can't stop staring at the ring on my finger. It is consuming me in thoughts I never wanted to think. I rip it off and throw it in the top drawer- his drawer, so that I'm not tempted to go back for it. The thought of taking my other ring off passes through my mind, but it is so unbearable I cannot entertain it. I've gotten so used to it, feeling the absence would only remind me of what else I have lost, so I keep it and then collapse to the ground, a bottle of xanax in my hand. I swallow three and wash it down with the half empty bottle of wine next to the bed. I fall asleep with the bottle in one hand and the glass in the other.
The memories shake me, and I regret ever taking the **** ring off. Ceremoniously, I slide it back on, placing his picture on the pillow on his side of the bed and lay next to him. The coldness of it bites into my palm and makes me tremble harder. I feel it brush against my temple and suddenly, I am doing this. Fear leaves me. Now it's just me and cold, hard determination. I breathe deeply for the last time. My finger pulls the trigger back, and I am bathed in a newer, more permanent darkness.
I don't have to miss him anymore.