Cheap Vodka

Aaron was gulping down his anger with cheap vodka, hiding from the world to drown in his self-induced sorrows. It was a routine, at times – fighting then drinking, drinking then fighting. It was as if he wanted it to happen. Today was no different, and the tears that ran down my face were a testament to how the day had gone. I had been beaten down by resentment; disgraced for having an opinion. I knew, at this moment, he hated me. And yet, I loved him. Don’t ask me how or why, but I did, and I wanted to marry him for some god-forsaken reason.

We had been together for over two years, and I felt it was time to make that commitment. The night I brought it up, he began ranting at me again. He asked me “what difference would it make for us” and “why should we pay for something that wouldn’t affect the nature of our relationship?” I couldn’t tell him, I didn’t want to tell him. I wanted to be myself again; not living in worry about losing him to someone else because I didn’t fulfill his sexual fantasies. The resentment he had suppressed came out in an exasperated sigh and ‘okay, fine’. I cried myself to sleep that night; not because I was happy, but I knew he wasn’t happy with me again. I was just an annoyance to him, and I just wanted him to love me as I was.

The day we went ring shopping at the mall, my spirits were high on the illusionary hope that it would be a good time. To my chagrin, Aaron didn’t wait long in turning the intended enjoyable day into a depressing endeavor. If he wasn’t silent, he was whining about the stone or the price. I did what I could to keep from giving up; telling myself it would all work out in the end and he was just having a bad day. I settled on one that I really liked. After that, Aaron wouldn’t leave me alone about the fact it was a diamond ring and it was fourteen-hundred dollars. What he didn’t take into account was the ring was a set, and two rings were included in that price. I tried explaining this to him, but it only made the situation worse. It was more about the fact I was talking and not what I was saying.

The walk to the car was a dreadful one. He wouldn’t stop yelling at me about my choice in rings. The resentment he expelled was horrifying, and I just wanted to curl up in a dark corner and die. I didn’t understand what I did wrong; what I did to deserve such treatment, but I must have done something. I wasn’t in the state of mind to connect the dots of our entire relationship to this moment. I wasn’t able to think about the fact that this was the way it would be throughout its entirety. I was too lost to comprehend the reality of the situation.

I was terrified by the level of depression that slapped me in the face. It was something I had never felt before, and I didn’t know if I would ever climb out of it. I crawled into bed as soon as we got home, and I didn’t leave until Aaron asked me to pick him up from the mall the next afternoon. No words had passed between us during that time, and nothing was said as I picked him up and drove back home. Silence endured through the evening, as he spent his time down in the basement, drinking. I stayed upstairs in bed, not wanting to wake up each time I fell asleep.

I dozed off at one point and woke up to the light in the bedroom being flipped on. I couldn’t see right away, but I knew Aaron was swaying in the doorway, and there was something in his hand. He stumbled over to the bed and sat down, picking up my right hand and shoving a ring on my finger. Shock raced through my body and I sat up. My heart sank as I realized this was his idea of a proposal: angry, drunk, and the wrong hand. I should’ve told him off, but a part of me was happy as well. Perhaps, despite this horrid beginning, it would all work out in the end. Everything screamed at me to run, run away, but my battered heart was willing to give this man a second chance in hopes that my happy ending would become a reality.

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