If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you would open the fridge one morning to find a clutch of shivering, mewling kittens huddled above the crisper. Ramgoth the Unyielding would come up behind you, press a bleary kiss to the crown of your head, and extract four eggs, a red bell pepper, and a tabby from the open refrigerator. As he began chopping, you would sneak a mouthful of chocolate soy milk straight from the container and wonder if your friends were right about this one.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you wouldn’t mind too much that he wore the same outfit every day. The leather pants would convert into leather shorts for the hotter months, the bone-and-crystal crown would set off his eyes beautifully, and you’d just love to stroke your fingers through the spotted fur half-cape where it draped across his wide, strong shoulders. And if his exposed torso were to get cold, you’d simply stand up against his front and wrap your arms around him, your soft belly to his chiseled abs. Ramgoth would grumble, but he would hold you right back.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you would finally use your reusable shopping bags.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you would take a lot of staycations. You’ve always found travel more stressful than fulfilling, and Ramgoth has to travel for work with some regularity. Six months into your relationship, you would suggest a getaway because that’s what you think people do, and it’s autumn in Maine and you’ve heard that’s stunning. Ramgoth would make the arrangements, and you’d be sitting up in bed together, choosing a car to rent online. He’d be holding up his tablet and you’d be scrolling through it, scrolling, scrolling again, zoning out at the idea of travel itineraries and flight connections and the price of gas. Ramgoth would catch your hand in his. He’d set down the tablet. “My love, is this really what you want to do?” He’d say. “Because we can do this, and I’d love to do this with you. But we don’t have to do this.” And you would remember that there was a new season of Call the Midwife on Netflix, and so much popcorn you can make and eat together. You’d post Instagram pictures of your feet and Ramgoth’s feet propped up on the coffee table. When you got twitchy from so much time on the couch, the two of you would go to all the local museums you always meant to visit. You’d get bubble tea and try out the farmers market on the other end of town. You’d go to the tallest building in the city and Ramgoth would bombast his way past security to get you onto the roof, and you’d stand, wind-battered, at the edge. Ramgoth would keep a hand light on your hip, not for your reassurance, but his own. “Light of my life,” he’d say into your ear. The sun would stream down onto the city, spears of light on glass. “Would you like to order Laotian or Thai tonight?” But you’d want chicken wings.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you’d come out to your parents. Not only because you’d want them to meet Ramgoth, but also just because it’d finally feel like the right time. Your father would just nod and then clap Ramgoth on the back and ask to hear about his famous exploits in the northern wastes. Your mother would take a little longer to process things, would go a little quiet. But then, a week later, you’d get an email from her asking what dish you and Ramgoth would be bringing for Thanksgiving dinner. You wouldn’t cry, but you’d seek Ramgoth out and find him sharpening his daggers in the mud room. Careful not to get in the way of the blades, you’d kiss him right between the eyes. He’d smile, though distracted, and let it go.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you wouldn’t take that cooking class you’ve had in mind because Ramgoth would insist on cooking for you. Breakfast, usually dinner, and he’d often spend nights whipping up lunches for you to take to work. You really want to learn, you’d say, but he’d insist.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you’d observe and offer color commentary as he worked to maintain his flawless physique. “Tuck your butt down!” You’d holler as he performed his two-hundreth push-up. “Engage your core!” You’d yell over the TV while he used the doorframe pull-up bar during commercials. “Is that all you’ve got?!” You’d challenge from behind the punching bag as he whaled on it. At your words he’d pause in his attack, and his gaze would meet yours. The savage intensity of it would rock you back on your heels, the heated animal scent of him hitting you all at once as he said, “No.”
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, let’s be real, you’d be having the kind of sex that would require twice-weekly chiropractor appointments.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you’d get used to the sense of impending danger. The master of the northern wastes, slayer of ravening beasts, and smasher of mountain strongholds has enemies, it’s inevitable. You’d have to move out of your first-floor apartment for safety reasons, but you’d just move into Ramgoth’s condo, and it would all work out. Maybe you’d get a dog.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, the two of you would go to a paint bar on Starry, Starry Night night, and no matter that you couldn’t get the river of stars to flow, or the moon to glow, or even the landscape to roll just the right way, still Ramgoth the Unyielding would declare your painting the best. Superior even to the original. For observe, Ramgoth would say, the depth of your texture, the looming of your tree, the eerie lunar light seeping throughout. Observe how one could trace the progression of your work from left to right on the canvas. Tentative, brief strokes on the left edge. Bold, long sweeps by the mid-line. And then, finally, the restraint of a mature artist. You’d want to be immune to his praise, but you really would feel that your technique matured over the course of the hour. In your freshman year of college, you stopped painting. An instructor eyed your piece and declared, to the class as a whole, “Yes, this is fine. But you rely on the same tricks every time. You think, ah, this is clever. Then you do it over and over. Until it is no longer clever.” You loved art, and you feared art, and maybe you were looking for an excuse to cut and run from art. You changed your major at the end of the semester. You’d tell Ramgoth that you signed up for the painting event on a whim, but really you’d seen the flyer and thought: redemption. And as Ramgoth exalted your work, his voice booming, you’d think as well: revenge.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you’d have the same hair product, but your own individual jars of it.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, your towels would match.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you’d want some space. And you’d wonder if you should be afraid of asking for it. This is Ramgoth the Unyielding we’re talking about. The slavering Man-Bat of Balgrendus fell before his mighty sword. The hundred-hundred Wasp-Vultures of Mt. Sin were brought low by his bare hands. The Mer-Wolves of Landonia, who nurtured their hateful schemes for millennia in the depths of the oceanic darkness, whose serrated teeth were each as long and thick as a grown man’s thigh, who sang destruction into the very undertow of the sea, even they quavered at the sight of Ramgoth in his battle rage. Even they were utterly destroyed. But you’d not be able to take it anymore, one day when you were in the shower and he stepped into the shower and it’s not like that’s not something he’s welcome to do, but you also get so little showering done whenever he’s in the shower and you’d really need to use your clarifying shampoo that day, that situation would be dire, and so you’d just blurt out, “Can you not?” And the look on his cragged face in that moment. Oh, you’d feel like the lowest creature to ever put your teeth to his neck. And Ramgoth would nod, nod several times, and leave you to your shower. You’d emerge from the bathroom bashful, but stalwart. You have a right to a shower of your own, you’re secure in that. And there Ramgoth would be, tucked into bed, a tray laden with dessert next to him. You’d have told him, days ago and cake in your mouth, that breakfast in bed was for chumps. You wouldn’t bother getting dressed, just sit on the bed in your towel, eating chocolate-dipped strawberries. Ramgoth would pick apart a homemade brown butter rice crispy treat and wait. “I love you and I want to be with you,” you’d eventually say. “But I need time to be with myself too.” Ramgoth would say, “Of course you do. I have been selfish.” And he’d point you to the printer where your registration for that cooking class would be waiting.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, you wouldn’t get a dog together until you both had enough free time to dedicate to the dog without hiring a dog walker or putting it in doggy day care. You and Ramgoth would drift off to sleep, your feet playing under the blankets, dreaming up dog names. Farflaf. Jerry. Bumps. He would rub his nose across your nose and tell you that the final choice would be yours.
If Ramgoth the Unyielding were your boyfriend, he would, happily, yield.
© 2015 Nicasio Andres Reed