Solemnly Swear

A man comes home to a girlfriend lost in something.

I think my girlfriend is ignoring me. She hasn’t said a word to me or even glanced in my direction since I got home. I’ve been afraid to ask what was wrong, or worse, what I’d done wrong, to deserve the brush-off. The fact that she didn’t really look pissed or any kind of upset, just really engrossed in the book she was reading on the couch.

Ugh, Harry Potter again. Of all the fandoms my girlfriend had to be an absolute geek about, she chose the one I was colder to than a cold day on planet Hoth (even non-Star Wars fans should know that place; compare that to whatever frigid place Potter has). Socked feet tucked up under her, the softest pillow in the apartment behind her; it was her default-relaxation mode, and though I really wanted an explanation for the lack of acknowledgment, I was remiss to disturb that mode, so letting her be was my play. If this was born of frustration of unsuccessfully getting me into Harry Potter again, I was more than happy to do the ignoring for a little while.

Through her reading, one of her ticks was going where she repetitiously kept something in motion with her hands and never stopped. Tapping her nails against something to make a steady beat, twirling a pen between her fingers, whatever kept a good rhythm going. Today it was swinging a pocket watch gently with a very subtle wrist motion. Were it not for the swinging watch, and her unusually slow breathing, I might thought she was frozen solid, the only cold being her indifference to her significant other. Harry Potter or not, he wondered what was so significant about her book that took her so far out from reality.

She seemed so out of it that I took a few steps closer to check out what looked odd with her book, but then I noticed there was some words engraved on that golden watch. It looked readable from where I was, and steady enough that I could try to follow it, but I really had to pay attention. I lowered my height in approaching the couch, so as not to scare her with an overbearing shadow, and to have a direct line of sight to the watch.

“I…” it started, the next word starting with an “s” but I needed to get closer. Crouching seemed uncomfortable and awkward to approach, so on my hands and knees I stealthily moved, as gently as the watch did. Minus my head moving back and forth to follow the swinging, I must’ve looked like a jungle cat stalking prey, inching closer and closer, but merely trying to parse the next word.

“Solemnly…” I mentally figured out the next word, giving way to “swear that I….” meaning nearly half of the message was figured out. “I solemnly swear that…” went on and on in my head, trying to figure out the reference. Something from a movie, something from a TV show? Something to do with watches? He didn’t know. It never stopped me from following the watch as carefully as she swung it, only distracted by the glints of light coming from somewhere, bouncing off the watch and into my eyes. It wasn’t terribly bright, more like the low-lighting you’d expect from a sunset, so it didn’t bother me that the flashes were nearly as frequent as the swings.

“I solemnly swear that I….” what?

“I solemnly swear that I….”

“I swear…I solemnly swear that I….?”

It surprised me that the light could bounce off a surface that looked a dull kind of gold color, but its luster improved the closer I got, maybe due to the angle I shifted to. I kind of leaned into more of the light bouncing off the next word I was trying to read.

“I solemnly swear…that…I solemnly…swear…”

What the next word could be didn’t ring any bells and the rhythmic motion of the watch made it hard to even keep up with the phrasing that I already knew. I tried repeating it to keep it fresh in my head.

“I solemnly swear that I”

“I solemnly swear that I”

“I solemnly swear that I”

It eventually grew hard to keep that pace as I was just too focused on everything else about the watch, the light that obscured my rational parsing, and slowly other thoughts in-general

“I solemnly swear that I….”

“I solemnly swear that…I…”

“I solemnly swear I…that I..solemnly swear…that I…solely swear”

I wish I knew why my head felt so fuzzy, why the swinging and the incomplete phrase and the flashes of light and the watch dominated everything else about what I could sense of me. I got positively heavy on my limbs, hands wobbly, knees lightly buckling. I really wanted to rest myself, but I really wanted to figure things out before…

“I….solemnly….swear..that..I…solemnly…I…I solemnly swear that I…I…I”

I swore then I was supposed to do something, commit to something. I was already committed to following, reading, sinking to the floor, under cushions right at the foot of the couch, as if waiting for me to collapse there.

“I solemnly swear that I…” I forced out of myself

“I solemnly swear that…..”

“I solemnly swear that I”

“I solemnly swear….I…solemnly swear…that…..”

“I….solemnly swear….swear s-that….I…solemnly swear….that….I…I…..I……..I…..”

All I could do was rest my head on its side and watch the swinging go from horizontal to vertical, the up and down as captivating as the side to side, my eyes going up and down, the flashes, the motion, the words never letting up. I…solemnly swore to do something, and what I was doing felt good, so I solemnly swore to do that, for as long as I could.

My eyes going up and down tired them rather quickly. I wanted to follow them like forever, but everytime my eyes went down, so did my the effort behind my eyelids. My eyes followed in spite of the blinking. I blinked profusely, head resting into a pillow, muscles irrelevant to what I swore to, so they rested as well. Only thing that mattered was how much energy my eyelids had left, as they stayed shut for longer, until they shut for good and my eyes still went up and down with dreaming about that vertical swinging, because I solemnly swore to.

***

In hindsight, I should’ve paid more attention to my girlfriend’s book only having a Harry Potter jacket that barely fit the bigger book, and top of the hard cover spelled out “hypnosis,” or that smile that slipped off her blank expression by the time I hit the floor. I should have never doubted how she swore she’d get me into Potter, one way or another. As it turned out, I was very easily susceptible to “another.”

Then again, in hindsight, nothing else before that point felt as good as swearing to obey, and following through on it. I don’t think I’d ever seen her so excited about something when I described what I could remember what was happening to me that first time, and how I interpreted the quote as I grew duller. I seemed to get excited from her excitement, explaining to me how she was trying this expecting it not to work, yet deeply, deeply loved how I ended up doing most of the work for her, following, succumbing on my own to the words, the control she’s always wanted.

“Holy shit! MY Imperial Curse is sooo much sexier,”

she said to me, waving that watch that my eyes were magnetized to again. It was hard to know what was so cursed about it, but the way she lorded control over me did feel pretty majestic, and hot. Important words felt like they slipped between my eyes going back and forth, past my softer head. I was so ready for more of this, more of whatever she wanted of me, even if it meant being her prisoner (of Azkaban), subject to the order of a beautiful creature more powerful than a phoenix, feeling my sensitive, ensorcelled stones aching to please her goblet of fire. The words didn’t make sense then, but that hot, lewd, geeky laughter that always got me in the mood told me this was a good thing. Not that her spell-casting watch let me even imagine what bad things were, so I warmed up to any and everything she had in store for me.

And after what felt like hours or days at a time of watching that watch swing, when she told me which books of HP to read, in what order, and when we’d have the first of several movie binges, I was astoundingly more than happy to comply. Now every time I name something referencing HP, she brightens both our days though her happiness and approval of my new-found fandom. I tend to mention the Marauder’s Map a lot, given its relation to a certain quote, hoping she’ll bring the watch back out. Half the time, she will use the watch. And if I’m a good fanboy, I’ll explain how Potter is better than other fandoms I like, or used to like, and then she’ll use the watch, and my body.

Of course, me now being her perfect HP-loving, ever-doting boyfriend, I solemnly swear to be or do whatever she wants as long as she quotes

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

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