15 October, 2006

I

I’m sat here, laid on my side writing. The pen oozing too much ink out onto the page, I think that doesn’t help, especially when the tears fall. It smudges. Black lines like spider webs of emotion. I’m playing with my chain. Memories rushing through my head. Not a day goes by without a thought of Sam passing through my mind. Memories replayed lovingly inside my mind. Search the archive and pull out a tape, slot it in the machine and press play. The mind travels back over a year and a half, watching as if it was yesterday.

Travel back. Back to a date. February, my birth month. The fourth of February, two thousand and five.

II

I’m nervous. I’ve been building up to this all week, been keeping it a secret from Sam, and that my friends was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But here, now, it’s the moment I’ve been waiting for. I don’t know how he’s gonna take it though. Hold my breath and keep my hands in my pockets, say nothing, do nothing. Now is the moment. Right now, no escape. Breathe, calm, speak.

‘Close your eyes,’ I tell him.

He smiles. ‘Why?’

‘Go on, close your eyes.’

‘I don’t trust you. Why?’

‘Please Sam, humour me.’ He does so, but I don’t trust he’s got them closed properly. ‘Turn around.’

He laughs. ‘Why?’

‘I reckon you’re peeping. I want this to be a surprise.’

‘Okay.’ He turns. ‘Still don’t trust you through.’

I push my hands into my pockets and pull out the boxes, opening them with my thumbs. My heart’s pounding. Deep thuds echoing their way through my body to my ears. Right. The moment’s here. One final breath. ‘Right, turn, you can look.’

Sam turns slowly. He’s smiling. Smiling until he sees the boxes. His mouth drops open. Shock. He doesn’t move, paralysed to the spot.

I smile. ‘I got two, both the same. I mean…’

‘No,’ he breaths, cutting me off.

I wasn’t expecting that. ‘No?’

‘No. No. No. No. No.’ The same word repeated again and again as if trying to drum itself into his head.

My heart’s sinking, dropping further and further to the ground. It seems so silent in this room. I swallow. What does he mean ‘no’? I can’t say anything.

The repeated word continues, each one bringing him closer to tears. He’s crying. Standing there, eyes locked on the two rings. What have I done?

‘If you don’t like them I’ll take them back. It’s just that we were talking about it, and you know, I thought fuck it, I’ll buy them.’ I’m rambling, words flying out my mouth in quick succession.

His eyes snap up to meet mine. He jumps at me, wrapping his arms tightly round me, his force knocking me back onto the bed. He lays there, hugging me, crying against me. I don’t know what to do.

‘You okay Sam?’ I ask.

His reply is a kiss, a tear soaked kiss. ‘I love you,’ he says.

‘You like them then?’

‘I fucking love them. I can’t believe it.’

I laugh. Relief. ‘So what you crying for?’

‘That’s the nicest thing anyone’s done for me.’

My heart breaks through the surface of fear, smashing back into place. ‘I love you. I wanted a sign to show how much we mean to each other.’

Another kiss. ‘I love you.’

‘You wanna try it? I dunno if it’s your size. They’re both the same, but you know, mine’s a bit loose, but you’ve got fatter fingers.’ I hand him the box.
Slowly he takes out the ring and pushes it onto his middle finger. He looks at it, smiles, then hugs me again. I take that as meaning he likes it.

I hug him back, I know he’s still crying. ‘They’re a sign of our love, of what we have, of what we are together. Whenever we look at it we’ll know the other is wearing it, so even when we’re apart we’ll be linked, we’ll know there’s someone out there who cares about us. You got to do one thing though.’

He pulls away and looks at me. He’s smiling; it sends a warm sensation through me. ‘What’s that?’

‘One promise.’

‘What?’

‘Promise me that no matter what happens you’ll always wear it. Always keep it on your person as a symbol of us, of everything we’ve been through.’

I smile. ‘Promise me that.’

He looks hard into my eyes. ‘I promise.’

‘What?’

‘I promise, and you’ve got to promise it too.’

I smile, I hug him. ‘I promise.’

III

I look down at my chain. The ring dangles from it. It’s laying on my chest above my heart. I feel myself begin to cry.

15 October, 2006

Dom Lyne

London, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

A chapter from my book The Mushroom Diaries. Available to buy at the usual places
[Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com]

More information can be found at my website. www.dom-lyne.co.uk

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