In the early dawn light, just before the sky began to fade from inky blackness into the azure hue of morning, she felt his arm snake around her waist and pull her into his warmth. She sighed her happiness into the silent still air around their bed as he bent into her shape and together they dozed.
With a kitten’s purr, she shifted her shoulders to fit against his chest and let their contentment settle around them.
The alarm wasn’t due to ring for another 30 minutes but she knew she wouldn’t be able to fall back to sleep now. With his breath against her skin and their legs tangled together, she felt herself slowly drift awake as the world outside slowly shifted from its own drowsy state of motionlessness.
She loved this time of the morning. When the breezes in the trees outside rustled the leaves with a gentle hand and the deep breaths of the sleepers ever-so slightly disturbed the silence. When everyone else remained asleep but, with her eyes closed, she was awake and thoughtful.
Drawing the cool sheet up against her chin, she lay there still, listening to his breath draw in and out, wondering if he was dreaming and what of. If he saw worlds of color and odd dancing figures or if his dreams were more realistic.
She felt him move slightly and smiled as he bent to kiss the back of her neck.
“Morning,” he said in his sleepy voice.
His deep, vocal bass rolled against her shoulders and her skin prickled excitedly. Hearing him first thing in the morning was one of the things she adored most, both for being the first to be greeted by him but also for the sleepy, thick pitch when he was just rousing from sleep. She smiled and greeted him in return.
“Can’t sleep?” he asked.
“Not really, just resting I guess.”
“Anything on your mind in particular? Or are you just being selfish and hogging the blankets all to yourself again?”
Snorting quietly, she adjusted the excess of fabric she never realized had gathered on her side. With the blankets rearranged and their bodies resting in the warmth of the cocoon they built, they both settled for a bit, trying to lengthen the early morning in the hopes of pushing away the day ahead.
But he was right, there was something on her mind. A question he had asked recently, one that would change their futures. She hadn’t answered but he hadn’t pried. He was giving her space and time.
She didn’t need it. She already had an answer. And a suggestion.
“Hun,” she started in a whisper. “About the other night…”
“Well, you know my answer is yes.”
Without a glance, she felt his smile beam across his face, like a child on Christmas morning. His arms squeezed against her in a tight embrace and he kissed her shoulder. Biting her lip, she continued.
“But I was thinking, what if we used my mother’s ring? You know, the one she passed on to me.”
Before she could continue the shifting of the pillow case beneath his head rustled as he shook his head in response.
“Nope. We’ll go out and pick out a ring. A fresh start, something new.”
She bit her lip. It would be nice to have her own but she was practical, logical. There was a perfectly fine ring not being worn just waiting for someone to use it. It seemed wasteful.
His body was still and she knew he was gauging her hesitation. He cleared his throat.
“I just think you could use a ring that’s uniquely yours to start this off right. Doesn’t need to be fancy but something that’s your and only yours. Besides, we don’t want to jinx us before we actually say ‘I Do’.”
Chuckling she responded, “I never knew you to be the superstitious type. What’s with this ‘jinx’ business?”
Glancing over her shoulder, she could see just edge of his face, enough to notice the smile had faded. Furrowing her brows together she turned to him.
“Well, it’s just that…” he began with hesitation. “I think it’s a good idea we start fresh and not with something from a past that isn’t what we want for our future.”
A deep breath collected in her chest. She knew what he meant. Pain circled through her heart as her pulse quickened and tears sprang to her eyes.
She knew exactly what he was alluding to.
Not long after they started dating, a deep rift tore open within her family and the ring she now had in her possession had not been worn for some time. It was simple and gold with bands twining around each other, housing a diamond at it’s core. It had become a symbol of so many feelings, both good and bad. Her childhood had been beautiful and filled with great memories. But the dissolving of her parents’ marriage had cast a shadow over the lovely diamonds and the tightly wound circle, symbolizing eternity together, a bond never broken.
The little girl in her still held onto the ring, wishing to wear it as her mother had in the heyday of their marriage when together they were a family, whole and solid. But the woman now laying here, agreeing to her own future with a man she loved dearly, saw the ring as a broken promise.
He was right, the ring would jinx it. Why carry on a past into their future that neither of them wished for?
Rolling into his arms to face him completely, she saw the grief lined in his face. But it didn’t reach his eyes. There she saw the love he gave her unconditionally. The light of future plans they had together, or dreams and wishes she wanted to make come true with him. Together they had weathered the storm and found they were stronger together than apart. While she watched and suffered along with her parents, he stood by her side, held her hand and let her cry in peace.
Smiling through her tears, she nodded and he nodded back. His smile was gentle and comforting as he reached down to wipe away her sorrows. She took a deep, cleansing breath.
“No more talk about that ring, ok?” he said reassuringly. “We’ll figure it out.”
And together they settled into the quiet morning, their arms encircling each other tightly.