"The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them."
The man I married was a hazel-eyed boy with a sense of humor and a ralph lauren shirt. Who's smile was warm, and who's love for me was clear in the way he faught for me. He loved everything I loved in an effort to show me how much love he had for me. He went to church, picked up a bible, brought me home kit-kats and saratoga water. He would rush home from work to snuggle on the couch and watch The Hills every Monday night. He took me to dinner at a resteraunt who served a salad that I loved, and a burger that he hated, yet he ate it with a smile. He loved my family and took care of my sister when she needed him, which to this day I think is the reason I fell in love with him.
The summer before my Senior year in highschool my sister went into a coma, due to her diabetes. When she woke she had suffered significant brain damage. She had to relearn everything from how to use the bathroom, to how to write her name and color in the lines of a coloring book. For months she slept in a bed beside my parents with a Taylor Swift cd on repeat, a tinker bell lantern glowing, wrapped in a Hello Kitty comforter.
Hil and I were always so different. Poor Hil never stood a chance. From the time she came home from the hospital she could never get a word in. I was so proud of my sissy. I never wanted anyone or anything to cause her any pain. To this day Hilary still can't make decisions, I think that's because I always thought for her. "I want this, and Siss will have this." In home videos of our childhood rough and tumble Hil is pushing the heavy leather ottoman across the carpet trying to wrestle me while I'm standing in front of the camera singing frarajaca and telling mom stories about "Sissy" who can't yet speak herself. Hil and I were different then, and as we grew it seemed like she wanted to be everything I was not. Before she got sick she was spending time with people that I brought into our lives, bad people, unsafe people. The night she got sick and went into that coma she was with someone who I used to love, someone who I brought into our lives and she trusted. I don't think I have ever forgiven myself for that. I don't know if I ever will.
Anger is the only feeling I remember feeling then. Pissed at Hil for getting sick. Pissed at Mom and Dad for being nieve to the fact that I was sixteen riding around on a motorcycle and having sex with a twenty-one year old MAN because they were spending every day in the ICU with Hil at Albany Med. More then anythig pissed at myself for not being able to protect Hil.
In the months that followed as Hil began to learn to function again it became apparent something wasn't right. It turns out the brain damage she suffered had significantly damaged the frontal lobe of her brain, the part of the brain that controls your impulsivity. She went back to sneaking out to spend time with the very people that hurt her, and fought against us trying to protect her. She would attack mom physically, I would step in to protect mom, and I too would get attacked. We didn't know what to do, or how to relate to her...we didn't know how to fix it.
I remember one instance inparticular...It was snowing here and she had disappeared. Once we realized she wasn't home we all went out to search the town for her. We followed her foot prints in the snow all over town. Adam was right there. Adam held my hand, Mom's hand...he protected us and served as a buffer between the three of us. Mom and I are fixers, we fought Hilary because we wanted her to be better again, to be whole. And in many ways I think we did blame ourselves for what happened. Adam didn't try to fix Hil, he didn't try to make her into the girl she was or expect anything from her. When things got bad and she went after us he would take her for rides in the cars for hours. The only thing that calmed her then...I fell in love with him for that. For being there for my sister in a way that I couldn't. I didn't understand and couldn't fix her, I blamed myself and I was so mad I couldn't see that she didn't need to be "fixed"...but Adam could. He was there for her so much in that dark time, he was there for me, he was there for Mason as an escape from the craziness, he was there for Mom when things got ugly. He was there.
In those moments when I needed him, he was there with out my having to ask. He held me when I cried, and made all the hurt go away. I didn't have to lie about how messed up everythig was. I didn't have to smile eventhough I was drowning in my own guilt. I didn't have to be anything, he didn't ask for anything...he was there. To love me when I felt like I was last on everyone's list, he put me first.
Within a year we were engaged, and shortly after that married. We moved across country, and got pregnant. With out anything around to save me from, when I no longer needed him, things changed. He bacame the one who needed saving. He would wake up from night terrors with his hands around my throat, he would roll over and fall back asleep crying and holding on to me, calling out for me in his sleep. The abuse started as Adaline grew in my belly and everything changed. He tried to be my savior and he was the one who really needed saving. Everything he did he did to become what he thought I wanted, till it became to much....he looked for
women girls who didn't expect anything from him, and thought he was perfect to take the pressure of the family he had at home waiting for him away. He hurt me because he was hurting. Because he couldn't live up to the standards he had set. I no longer needed saving, and he was no longer my savior.
He was there for my sister, the person I wanted most to be able to be close to in this world, but never could be. He held my hand at church as I cried, and tried to give me the life he thought I wanted. In many ways he succeeded. But who I was, what I needed, who I thought he was wasn't who he truly was.
I married a man in Ralph Lauren, who had more integrity than any boy I had ever met in my entire life, who knew GOD, and who brought me roses in the morning before school. I am divorcing a man in a bright green "Keep Calm and Chive On" shirt, with vans on his feet who shares OUR bed with a trashy girl who is to stupid to see the truth and needs him to save her from her own reality. I am divorcing a man who was a bad father, who's integrity was lost the second he strayed from our marriage...who's strength diminished the first time he laid a hand on his pregnant wife. I held on so long and loved him so much for what he used to be, hoping he could be that person again...he never was, and he never will be. I wanted my child to be raised by the sweet boy in the designer clothes with soft eyes and a big heart. Now she will be raised by a single mother...and she will never know the person I fell in love with. She will only ever know the pathetic boy in the Chive t-shirt and vans with a chip on his soulder and trash in his bed where we spent many nights together as a family.
Who's really to blame for this mess? Him for letting me down and hurting me...turning his back on the dreams we had? Or me, for being nieve enough to believe he could give me everything he promised?