Promises

Jane is sitting across from me at my local watering hole fiddling with the bands of white gold on her third finger. She was alone in her breath before continuing,

“I mean he made a promise going into our marriage-that we would have kids. He went into this saying he wanted kids. Had I known there was a chance he could have felt differently, I wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be here.”

“I promise to love and honor you, in sickness and in health, death do we part.”

“I promise to pay this medial bill should insurance decline my claim. ”

“I promise I will be there whenever you need me. ”

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“I apologize. I promise I will never do that again.”

“I promise,” like two words are something sturdy enough to build a city on, when in reality they are life jackets in an open ocean. We say,  “I promise” half hoping we will still feel the same way when the promise is needed but we secretly hope it never is. Even when we are convinced completely we will hold up our end of the bargain, there is still a chance we won’t. We are transient, fickle, flawed creatures. We are opportunists even at our best. Even when we’re honest, we are likely at least 5% bluffing.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t get married, or sign contracts, or promise their kids ice cream for dessert etc. I’m not saying people shouldn’t tell the truth. I’m saying everything is flawed, and nothing is ever completely owed to us, no matter how firm the word may seem. As scary as that is, maybe it can also be a relief?

If nothing is really promised, than even the bad ones can me broken. If all promises can be broken, and things come back around, luck will inevitably be back on your side-no matter how transient.

And then you will loose, and then you will win, and then you will begin again.

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