Dave and Gina have been married for over fifteen years. Now, it's time to move on. Gina knows what needs be done. Dave must realize the true meaning of the the wedding vows they exchanged all those years ago. But is it to late? Will Dave still listen? Or will Gina's efforts to make him understand be in vain.
Truth of Vows
By: Paul J Hamm
As he pulled into the driveway, Dave let loose a long sigh when he noticed Gina sitting on the porch swing. They had not spoken for two days; Gina was ready to make up, so was Dave.
He opened the car door, smiling, and stepped out. “Guess I should’ve brought flowers,”
Gina looked down at her folded hands, but remained silent. Dave approached his wife with caution and sat beside her. “What do you think Gina, can we start over? I really am sorry...please don’t shut me out.”
Gina looked up, tears swelling in her eyes. “I’m only trying to make things easier, Dave. This can’t go on any longer.”
Married over fifteen years, Dave and Gina seldom fought. They chose discussion over argument, sharing a best-friend relationship most couples would deny existed.
Dave wiped a tear from her cheek, his gold wedding band reflecting in the afternoon sun. “I need more time, Gina. I can’t just throw up my hands and say 'okay, that’s it,' not after fifteen years."
Gina pulled his hand down, gazing into her husband's thinning face. "When we first started talking about this I thought you’d understand, but it’s been two months and you still won’t listen. Don’t you trust me - don’t you trust my judgment?”
Dave lowered his stare, beginning to feel his own emotions rise to the surface. “I just need you so much - you mean everything to me. I still don’t understand why it has to end like this.”
Gina cupped a hand under his chin, pulling his eyes back to hers. “Because it’s time to move on, Dave. We can’t keep going around in circles like this everyday. It’s not healthy. How long has it been since you’ve talked to any of your friends? Marty came by last week and you wouldn’t even answer the door. He’s worried about you and you’re shutting him out, you’re shutting everyone out. Marty’s been your best friend since high school and he wants to be there for you, wants to help you get through this. Maybe you could stay at his house for a couple of days - talk things over. Maybe watch a football game together.”
Dave got to his feet and began pacing rapidly in front of her. “A football game? Our life together is over and you want me to watch a football game? Do you realize how ludicrous that sounds? I don’t want to go to Marty’s! I want to be with you! I want things back the way they were - I want us back the way we were!"
Gina remained silent, giving him time to vent.
“Can’t we try, Gina? Can’t we work this out,” Dave pleaded, tears spilling down his face. “I keep thinking this is all a bad dream and I’m going to wake up, but it never ends. It’s like living in hell.”
Gina lowered her head, and sighed in frustration. “It’s too late for that Dave, and you know it. Nothing can change what's already happened. You have no idea how much it hurts me to see you like this. Don’t let our last memories together end in misery.”
Dave’s regiment pacing froze at hearing Gina’s last sentence. “What are you saying - I won’t ever see you again? That you would just leave? Could you really do that to me?”
Gina closed her eyes and tried to collect her thoughts. Dave waited, studying her body language, terrified by what she might say next. He noticed Gina was wearing the bright yellow sundress he liked, her hair pulled back with the rainbow butterfly clip he had given her for her last birthday, and thought, God I love her. Why does it have to end like this?
Dave gestured impatiently, tired of waiting. “You’re asking me if it’s okay for you to leave! Asking me to let you go! Well, it’s not - and I can’t! And if you consider that being selfish, too bad!”
He turned away, headed for the front door, put his hand on the knob.
Dave stood where he was, contemplating what to do, and then turned to face his wife.
“Please Dave, sit down for a second. Let me ask you something.”
Dave sighed and did as she asked; her statement about the last memory ending in misery weighing on his heart.
“Do you remember our wedding day,” Gina asked.
Dave's mind blanked for a moment, stunned by the question. Then a ghost of a smile touches his face. “Of course I do. How could I forget the happiest day of my life?”
Gina took hold of his hands, clasping them between hers. “Do you remember our vows?”
Dave remained somber, and then nodded.
“Recite our vows to me, Dave,” she said, giving his hand a tender squeeze.
Dave shook his head and tried pull away. “I don’t see what any of this has to do with…”
Gina held her grip. “For me Dave, please? Recite our vows.”
Dave took a deep breath, trying to keep his composure, and let it out in staggered a burst.
“Okay, okay, give me a minute to think,” he said, running a hand through his hair. After collecting his thoughts, Dave raised his head and looked into the emerald green eyes he had fallen in love with. “Okay, ready?”
She nodded once, a thin smile dawning on her lips.
“I take you to be my wedded wife…” Dave reeled off as Gina forced two fingers down on his lips to hush him.
“Recite them to me the way you did on the day we agreed to share our lives together - the day we agreed to love each other forever.”
Dave sighed again, and after a moment relented to her request. “I, David Chambers, take you, Gina Wilson, to be my lawfully wedded wife. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish ‘till death do us…” Dave trailed off, his eyes widening and his heart darkening with shame.
Gina leaned forward, embracing her husband for the last time and whispering like a breath of wind into his ear. “You see, even our vows of love set us free. When I died, our promises to each other in marriage became fulfilled, and now it's time to move on. The car accident wasn’t your fault, Dave. You have to honor and cherish my memory by letting me go. I love you Dave, and always will...but don’t let my death be in vein.”
Burying his face in wife's chest, Dave clutched at the sides of Gina's dress as sobs began pouring out of him like waves of thunder. “Oh God, Gina, I’m so sorry! You wern't meant to die so young! Will you ever forgive me?”
Gina cradled her husband's head, caressing his brow and cheek as they rhythmically rocked together in the porch swing. “There’s nothing to forgive, my love. There’s nothing to forgive.”
As the sun was beginning to set, a black Ford Explorer swung into the driveway. The drivers door opened, and Marty Freeland stepped out. He walked to the front porch, found Dave crying and curled up in a fetal position on the swing, and rushed forward.
“It’s all right, Dave. I’m here, take it easy buddy."
Dave gazed into Marty’s eyes, fresh tears tracing down his face. “I can’t do it anymore Marty! I can’t be alone anymore! I miss her so much!”
Marty pulled his life long friend close, and embraced him. “We all miss her Dave, but you’ve never been alone. Come on, let’s go inside, have some coffee, and talk this through.”
He helped Dave get to his feet and into the house, and as the door shut with a soft click, the porch swing began to sway in the light summer breeze - almost as if the rainbow hair clip perched on the seat had somehow willed it to wave goodbye.