No Exit

Chuck Wendig had a dream with a recurring phrase: There is no exit.

A situation with no escape can only be a nightmare. Can’t it?


“Della and Jo have pledged their love for each other, they have sealed their vows and received their rings. Before this gathering, they have expressed their complete and pure dedication to one another, and by the authority vested in me, I now pronounce you -“

It made my world crack, the pause that followed. Hesitation that lasted only for the fraction of a moment. Until he continued.

“- married. You may kiss the bride!”

Nothing cracked. Nothing shattered.

There was a twinkle in his eyes, and was that a wink? A wink that not only was meant for us both, but also glued us to him, to the pride and the sympathy in the face of this stranger. The officiant didn’t look at either of us but at both of us together, gaze inviting, the corners of his mouth twitching as I felt a hand on my hip and shook myself out of what still felt like a dream.

A daydream, a joyous, hopeful dream that did everything to dissolve the shadows of the past nightmare. Jo’s eyes, her mouth, her whole face shone with happiness as she bent down to me and whispered something. Whatever it was, its meaning was lost to me when her lips met mine and a cheer erupted from the crowd around us.

A first breath after endless drowning. A first bite after endless starving.

“Please sign here.” My hands didn’t shake. They didn’t.

I had loved her before, I loved her now, I would love her forever. She was enough, and she would’ve been always enough, with a ring or without. She knew that, and it wasn’t the point.

This here – this was the „No Exit” sign where no exit was needed. For us, and for everyone else. It was the end of discussions, of all the arguments that only veiled their incomprehension and contempt behind well-intended questions.

“Are you sure about this?”
“You know what your aunt said. She changed her will.”
“What about children? Don’t you want children?”
“I will pray for you.”
“That’s such a serious step. So final.”
“But you always wanted a white gown. As a girl. And a prince.”
“We only want the best for you.”
“Don’t make hasty decisions. You just have to find the right one.”

Sorry, Dad – already taken.

This here – these rings, these words, this signature, even the twinkle in the officiant’s eyes – was the answer to all these questions. They were facts. My commitment and hers, my safeguard and hers, my obligation and hers. Ours now, thrown into the face of the world. A fait accompli.

It’s not a prison, friends. It’s just a room with no exit.

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