Running In Place - Going No Where

by Jhori Barksdale

“So what’s it gonna be Spencer? We’ve been dancing around this thing for almost a year now. You need to tell me what’s up cause I’m not wasting any more time waiting on you to decide what you want to do.” I sat on the edge of the bed looking over at my fiancée sitting in the chair. “I’ve bought and taken that wedding dress back twice. If I take it back this time – that’s it.” I spoke with a calmness I was surprised to feel. “And it also means that we are over with.”

He refused to look at me. All signs told me to pick the dress up from the back of his chair and go straight to David’s Bridal. Instead I waited for a reply. His face was unreadable, but I knew my words had been heard by the way he was clenching and unclenching his jaw. A sure sign of stress.

After waiting for ten minutes with no reply – I slowly rose from the bed. Walking over to where the dress lay I reached behind him and lifted it to my arms. Just as I turned to leave, he caught my arm.

“Kelly, please wait. You’re gonna just throw us away just like that?” He asked, still not looking directly at me but instead up and over my shoulder at the wall. I refused to say anything. I felt like I’d said enough. Over the last year I’d said more than enough to be exact. Begging, pleading, crying and getting sick from worry. It had come to this by no easy street. The road had been very turbulent and unsure. I’d finally come to the realization that life would go on…with or without him.

“So you have nothing to say?” At last his eyes rolled to my face, still only settling on the area between my nose and mouth. Not in my eyes. “You’ve made up your mind that if I can’t tell you when we are getting married then its over?”

I listened to words that were no longer de ja vu. They were carbon copies of my life since the day he first asked me to marry him. His proposal had been by choice. Not from my persuasion. Not from my coercion. Certainly not by force. He was the first to bring it up. He was the one who always talked of it. And even though things had been kind of turbulent the last few months before; he was the one who took it upon himself to go buy a $3500 ring and get down on his knee three days after Christmas and asked me to be his wife.

At that time I questioned him as to why he asked me to marry him. He said he felt that he was ready. But as time wore on, I soon found that not only was he not ready – but it seemed that he was trying to do everything possible to make me know that he had changed his mind. Yet when I’d ask, he would deny it profusely. All I would ask of him is to be honest with not only me, but also with himself. Still he denied. According to him he was sure.

But his actions continued to belie his words. I’d begin to make plans, he’d show a slight interest and then stop. The cycle went on like that for the course of nearly a year. Now we were here at this point. Lately I had been feeling like he was procrastinating only because he wanted to hold on to me until he made sure there was nothing better out there. I knew what and who I wanted. But it seemed like he didn’t. And yet, he did not have the balls to say that he had changed his mind.

Now I had reached my breaking point. Today. This day – was it. There was not turning back and no himing and hawing. As the old folks say: Piss or get off the pot. If you can’t run with the big dogs you need to stay on the porch.

“What’s it going to be Spencer? When do you want to get married?

“Kelly you just don’t understand. It’s not that simple.” He started to whine like a dayum baby. I stood there looking down at him. I saw his lips moving but heard nothing. The dress was draped over my left arm. As he was talking I reached under it and carefully slipped the beautiful engagement ring from my finger. I saw tears in his eyes and then one fell as if it was in slow motion. He was finally looking at me as he talked. He was saying something about giving him a little more time. That it takes time to plan a wedding and that he wanted it to be nice and the best, and blah, blah, blah…

I watched outside myself as I brought my hand from under the dress. The room got cloudy like someone flashing back in a dream on TV. My movements continued to seem to be in slow motion. I bent down and lightly brushed his forehead with my lips. He stopped talking and began to reach up for me. When his hand opened, I put the ring in it and closed his fingers around it.

His expression froze. I kissed him one last time, re-adjusted the dress on my arm then turned and walked out the door.

Running In Place - Going No Where by Jhori Barksdale

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