“Vows.” Fiction. Based on a True Love.

“I was so blessed to have such a great, horrible experience. Without that horrible experience I would not be here. I would not love them so much.”



Fiction. Based on a True Love.

By Dorothy England

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

Oh, to be alive in another’s jealousy, to live only through the happiness they desire and deserve, but falsely believe I exclusively inhabit.

But if I lived only in that picturesque world, I’m not sure I would have found you. I’m not sure I would have known true love without knowing true despair.

I had once read that going through high school was akin to walking through barbed wire. Yes, I could imagine that. The stings of insecurity, the wounds of humiliation, the sharpness of exclusion, even without words, with just looks. To be drenched in shame and dizzy with blame from the insults, the bullying, the pushing-into-lockers.

I didn’t know how to shut it out, how to let it go. I needed more calm in my life but I was unsure where to acquire it.

A year later, I saw you. I recognized that calm I knew I deserved but could not name. That calm I had only felt in short beautiful bursts now stood before me whole.

I saw you. And you saw me.

I invited you to tea and of course, a woman of the 21st century, I paid, then spilled it across the table in an effort to match your calm, to remain collected through my own chaos. But you stayed. You paid for a new tea. And this time I didn’t spill it.

We kissed one night a few days later. We were hidden away in a secret room, our feelings exposed. You told me you liked me and when I asked if you wanted to date, your beaming smile told me what I already knew. Yes.

Somehow, eight years later, the years have fallen off into memories, into pictures and moments expired. I’m not sure how that happened when I know myself to be so meticulous in time management. But here we are. Now standing, facing each other on our wedding day.

Every day with you I am privileged to see that calm I had once thought I was not entirely deserving of. It fills me even when I am sad and angry, when I am hurt and distracted. Yes, it does not come on suddenly. Nothing you do not properly own ever does.

But you see, you’ve always owned your calm, you’ve always claimed that peace. And now you’ve placed a piece of it against my heart.

I still see you. I see the man I am meant to marry, the man I can lean against when I am heavy with life, the man I can laugh with, without always knowing why, the man that has brought out the woman I am meant to be seen as.

I see the man who is calm and steady when I am rushing waves, the man who is calm when I cannot find its meaning. You wrap it around my being. You wrap it around our joint existence.

I see you Paul, and now calmly with all the love I could ever give, I see us.

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