Mary stared down at the ring in her hand.  It still had a gleam that caught the eye, even after thirteen years.  Long years.  She clenched her fist, feeling the small gold band dig into the skin of her palm.  Relaxing her fingers, she again looked down, her expression blank as she considered the idea of simply going out of the door and just keeping on walking.  How long would it be before she got tired and had to lie down?  How long before she got hungry?  How long before she starved to death?  Still she sat.

Mary held the ring between finger and thumb, staring hard as its curve shone in the sunlight pouring through the window.   She thought back to the day she had shone, as she stepped down the aisle, the joy radiating from her so much so that her friends still spoke about it sometimes, even now.  But that was thirteen years ago.  Long years.  How long had it taken for the interest to wane?  How long to realise that boredom was the best that she could hope for?  How long before she’d realised that he felt the same?  Still she sat.

Mary placed the ring on the bedside table.  Out of the light it looked dull, unimpressive, the weight of commitment pulling the brightness from it.  Thirteen years of commitment.  Long years.  She imagined telling him she was leaving, that she needed something more.  She imagined how he would react if she told him how she felt, or how she no longer felt.  How long would the thunderstorm argument last?  How long would she have to stand the silence that followed?  How long before she could summon the strength and courage to support the words with action?  Still she sat.

Picking up the ring, Mary walked to the door.  Opening it, she stood for a moment, considering the man in the comfy armchair. Making her decision, she placed the ring on her finger, smiled and greeted him.

“Happy anniversary darling.”

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Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
1 year ago

I must admit it was the picture of the church, with its grave yard, under leaden skies, that first pulled me in. The story matched the picture perfectly! Your repetition of “long years” and “still she sat” was very effective, and begins to sound like a dirge. In just a few well-chosen words, you were able to show the slow descent from a glowing bride to an unhappy, disillusioned wife. Such a sad story, but told with skill and compassion. Good work.

Shreya Dhital
Shreya Dhital (@shreya-dhital)
1 year ago

The story is very well written and expressed.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
1 year ago

Sadly the story is probably echoed in so many relationships throughout the world. Stay? Go? An agonising dilemma. You told the story so beautifully, Michael, and I loved the repetition of ‘long years’. Great story!

Leena Auckel
Leena Auckel (@leena-auckel)
1 year ago

I loved this piece. Very poignant. A nice exposé of the dilemma of a woman… the choice between independence and commitment is always so difficult.

Mary Wallace
Mary Wallace (@mary-wallace)
1 year ago

This piece called my name. Beautifully written, it reflects the outcome of wedded bliss many of us face. In this house, after 43 long years, Mary is still sitting. Thank you for your story Michael.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

I think Sandra has echoed my thoughts. The story is well crafted and reflects the emotions of many a person who has spent many years with just one person.

sanika chatterjee
sanika chatterjee (@sanika-chatterjee)
1 year ago

Heart-touching story!! It represents the situation of so many relationships in the world.The way the change was portrayed was beautiful. My heart skipped a beat at the last line……

musing mind
musing mind (@musing-mind)
1 year ago

I loved the ending. So unpredictable yet so pleasing. Mary still wearing her ring gave me kind of inner relief.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

In all its quiet desperation and sadness, it’s a beautiful story, told in a compassionate way. I love the repetition of the questions and statements coming back three times in an ominous way. I also liked it that the outcome is undecided until the very end.
As seen in the commentaries, many women recognize themselves in Mary’s situation. But not only women. I was in Mary’s situation myself, but finally, after 16 years, took a different decision.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Hello Michael, after reading this picture wonderfully painted about how this marriage is, you wonder why? And you wonder why she places the ring back on her finger and returns back to the same situation. You wonder why their dream died. All the readers below recognized the situation. And it begs the question how can love die?

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
1 year ago

A truly poignant story Michael. How sad that there may be women out there today in a similar situation. I take heart in that women’s choices and options have increased so much in recent years, providing them with an easier way out if they have the courage to take it. A well written piece that I really enjoyed reading.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Wow! A very nice image of a woman, and a wife. I love how you draw it to my mind. I saw a very strong woman, dedicated and devoted to her husband. I love it so much. It is a reflection of the life of every wife but still chooses to stay.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
1 year ago

A hard decision indeed! You’ve managed to portray the dilemma, the feelings and thoughts of the character very nicely, Michael.

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