It started Tuesday morning. I woke up right before the alarm went off. A sharp pain in my left hand did the trick. I could tell everyone was still asleep; not a single disturbance to that precious –and oh so rare– quietness. I stopped myself from shutting the alarm, almost too sad to broke it off.
Ten minutes later, everyone was up. The pain wouldn't go away and an itch was starting to accompany it. I searched with no luck through our medicine cabinet, hoping some allergy lotion would help. Ibuprofen, Xanax, some Tums.
I finally accepted my fate and took a shower. From the bathroom, I heard Mati getting the kids ready. His voice filling every inch of the house, them laughing like their lives were perfect. I felt my finger swelling up.
By breakfast, it was the size of a small grapefruit. I hid it behind my back so Mati wouldn't see. He'd nag me about not taking my medication, or warn me about the dangers of not being careful with my health. Oftentimes, I felt more like his daughter. I brushed it off, of course. That was his way of protecting us, I told myself.
I felt the finger pulse as the pink swollen skin stretched to its limits. I wrapped a cloth around it and pretended I was busy. I kissed babies one and two goodbye as Mati grabbed their bags. I think I might have kissed him too, but I can't seem to remember.
Once they were gone, I analyzed my hand for the first time. What I had discarded as a minor thing had taken over my ring finger and was already spreading. My skin, red at first, was now acquiring an even more sinister purple tone.
It was the ring. It had to be the ring. I knew wearing it for too long would bring consequences. I knew things would get out of control, and I tried explaining it to Mati but he wouldn't listen. He thought we wanted this. This life. So I went along with it, but I couldn't keep up anymore.
I tried taking the ring off, but it was pointless. My finger was declaring independence from my body, no longer interested in living the life I had decided for my other nine fingers and myself.
So I did what any sane person would. I grabbed the kitchen knife, my favorite one, the one I used to chop onions when I was feeling rebellious. I grabbed it firmly with my right hand, and slowly sliced it down my left one –not all the hand, of course, I am no lunatic.
I applied pressure to my recently acquired stub and stared with disgust at the swollen flesh I had just butchered. The ring was barely noticeable anymore, completely suffocated by the ever-present redness.
"This is probably a good time to talk to Mati about divorce" I finally said out loud.