Queen Nicki Dominant
This was a short short I wrote for a competition called Young Georgia Authors during my senior year. It won first place in regional and first in state.

A wedding is a ceremony which commemorates one of the most monumental transformations two people can make in their lives. Together, the couple decides to start a new chapter. However, transforming is a complicated thing. You cannot alter one thing in your life without altering every aspect of it. If you can push through the metamorphosis you’ll find a better version of yourself. Starting today, everything that has happened in the past is just a prologue.

New beginnings occur in life every day. It just depends on how you look at it. Every sunrise brings a new day to welcome in new people, new opportunities, and new thoughts. On my morning runs, I try to keep this as my mantra. I know life gets stagnant at times and you just have to persist and stir it all back up. Sometimes I feel like I can run a million miles on the outlook of not being able to take back yesterday and that I have no idea what tomorrow will hold. My most recent yesterdays have provided me with a husband to share my tomorrows with.

My husband and I both embrace the desire that comes with new beginnings. The desire to make the best of it; desire to just hold on tight and set up new roots wherever the wind takes us. That’s why it came as no surprise to me when he came to my home and told me he had immensely exciting news. Usually it only takes a simple tune to keep our love life on its toes, but this seemed like a full orchestra playing a concerto. I could see the eagerness engulfing his body language. He swept me up in his arms and whispered on the nape of my neck three words, “New York City.”

Moving allows you to re-examine the life you have lived so far. Piece by piece, you go through the memories. You decide what possessions belong in your future and what items would be better left in the past. The establishment of a life in one place and the upheaval to start anew somewhere else is often seen as a burden. However, I’m too ecstatic to be hindered by the moving process. I’ve just married the love of my life. As a couple, we are moving to a city of countless opportunities. Together we put our belongings from our two separate lives into a box that represents our one new life.

There is growth as a family, growth as a couple, and individual growth. These all include the possibility of growing apart. I had been so absorbed lately on writing my new column about change for The New York Times, since I had just made the biggest change since our marriage. I was so excited about the newness of it all, the grand architecture, the hustle, the bustle. Also, I knew with Eli’s new job he would be working the new guy shifts. I understood. I accepted.

I was lucky, I thought. I was allowed to express myself to an already established, large scale, audience. I felt as if I were on top of the world. Eli would come home and kiss me before he even sat his keys down. What more could I ask for in the context of a married couple’s greeting after a long day apart? I knew one thing, though. As each day passed his clothes adopted a new smell; one that I couldn’t wash away. But I never commented, I only wrote my thoughts down. I only spoke the truth to the paper. My writing was always my outlet. There is no better vengeance than a poisoned pen.Yes, I was on top of the world, but that just meant I had a long way to fall back down.

Maybe two months passed. Eli rode his wind gust and landed in his new office that came with the promotion he received. My columns began to fade into the back of my mind. I barely had the time to think of anything other than the encroaching perfume that followed me everywhere I went. If sinful desire had a scent this was it. It was not my scent, this was in a room before I got there. This was the engulfing odor that Eli carried home with him. Asking him yielded nothing but denial, even of the existence of the smell. I didn’t have to ask many times before I knew there was another.

The growth was still occurring. Eli in his radiant, sunlit office; important and powerful, he was allowed to grow upward and onward. I, however, felt stifled. We came here together, but we were meeting each new beginning with different strides and different interpretations. We were taking different roads altogether. We were growing apart. Eli was having late nights, and coming home with calmness in his skies. I was retiring early at night, and lying in bed with a tempest brewing in my mind.

I felt like I had lost my faith in Eli, even the desperation to stay together began to evanesce. When we would go out for dinner, Eli was constantly looking around the restaurant. As if he was searching for something; something better than me. As we sat across the dinner table from each other, I noticed something about Eli. Eli’s eyes shone brighter than they did when he said, “I do.” I recognized the look of new love on Eli’s face. I knew that look; I used to be the object of it. Now, when our eyes met, his demeanor almost immediately changed. It was as if the curtains to the play dropped in the middle of his favorite scene. Can you imagine that pain? The pain of extinguishing the fire in a soul. I attempted to resolve the pain, but how do you kill a feeling?

Then came the day. The day we both knew it was over. The tides had drifted out to sea and the flame of our desires were nowhere to be found. Our metamorphosed existence went from bliss to agony with one look. I had never seen this look, I wasn’t even aware I was capable of making it myself. A brief exchange of utterances was followed by a night of him on the couch, and myself in the master bedroom, neither sleeping. Then came the day he took my hand and told me he was leaving.

I lost my husband to her. Bright and constantly in a state of change. Offering him the world with the slightest whim. She was tall, beautiful, and seductive. What could I offer that she couldn’t? She introduced him to new friends, new experiences, just as we had embraced in the beginning. Now she comforts him with new opportunities. That kind of power should come with a warning label. I thought she had poisoned his mind, but in reality she had poisoned mine.

I feel I may have mislead you. There was no other woman. There were millions. Eli fell out of love with me and began his affair with the City. That perfume that haunted me was the scent of two parts seduction, and one part sin: it was the fragrance of the City. Who was I to fight against a windswept landscape that had given me everything I ever wanted, and took away the one thing I ever actually loved? Yes, I was worried about Eli falling for another woman, but I learned sometimes our most threatening nemeses are those we didn’t expect to begin with.

Even when we're positive we've successfully found our personal happy ending, it's not always true. Sometimes second thoughts tiptoe into our mind, and only the fairytale princess finds her prince. In this city nothing is definite. A life in New York can shove you into an ominous future, or destroy your idea of love. However, at the epilogue of our story, we have to live with the decisions we’ve made.