“Marry me?” he begged, his eyes so sincere and adoring.
I sat on the edge of his bed, still reeling from the cinematic horror I had just witnessed.
How could the two towers be gone? I wondered. All those people? All those lives? People I knew. I was supposed to have been in New York. I could have been in those towers.
“Kimberly?” his voice pulled me back to him.
“Marry me,” He repeated.
“We are getting married,” I reminded him, holding up his dog tags that hung around my neck. My engagement ring.
His pay and our whirl wind courtship didn’t allow for fancy jewelry. I didn’t mind. It was romantic. Exciting. Just like him. Our chemistry was nothing I’d ever imagined, let alone had. Soul mates, I’d thought. Destiny.
My friends and family questioned my sanity. I was more educated, worldly, liberal, a feminist. He did manual labor and was in the National Guard.
But I saw things they didn’t. He was well-read, brilliant in his own way. He was kind and sexy and made me laugh. When I looked in his eyes I saw my future. I couldn’t yet see the pain he would cause me.
We’d been inseparable since the night we’d met in the bar.
He adored me, looked at me as if I was the only woman on earth, worshiped my body with every inch of his. My face flushed at the thought of just how that worship had made me feel the night before.
“Kimberly, I just got the call,” he said, and my heart stopped. “I’m on two hour alert. I could be deployed to Iraq at any moment. Marry me today. I want to know you’re mine when I board that plane.”
Deployed? Leaving me? Iraq?
“No…” I muttered under my breath, tears leaking out of my eyes.
“No, you won’t marry me?” he asked thickly.
“No, I mean yes, I’ll marry you, but I don’t want you to leave. I’ve given up New York and the best college to be with you. You can’t leave me now.”
I felt pathetic. Desperate. Unlike myself entirely. It was a feeling I would come to know well over the next 10 years.
My wedding day was not what I had expected. It was planned in six hours and took place in a small chapel. Tears of blood stained the innocence of our union as the world mourned the loss of 9/11 victims.
I had a dress, a cake, blood red roses, and satin shoes. My husband-to-be spent our wedding day buying bullets and polishing guns.
That all disappeared the moment we stood face to face at the altar. Our eyes full of each other, promising to love, honor and cherish each other til death do us part.
It turns out, there are many kinds of deaths.
This is the third part of a 10-part series on domestic violence and relationships based on my life. Please come back next Monday for the next post, Nights of Insanity, or follow my blog or sign up to receive email updates. You can also like my Facebook Pagefor updates on my blog, my books and more. To get caught up, start with Part 1: Why We Stay.
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