by Sarah Siering
I will marry my love on April 12, 2014. People keep asking if that date means anything, and I tell them it does not. We selected April 12th for very practical reasons. Mark is a teacher, and while spring break, winter break, and the whole flippin’ summer are the awesome side effects of educating America’s teenagers, the job comes with one minor hiccup: the inability to take days off during any other time of the year. So, April 12, 2014, the first Saturday of Mark’s spring break. Save the date.
But something about the question kept gnawing at the corners of my memory. A quick rummage through a pile of embarrassingly girly diaries reveals the forgotten truth: I am getting married on one of the most significant dates in my history. On April 12th I will be wearing a white dress. I will be carrying spring flowers and holding back happy tears. My friends and family will be watching as I march down the aisle to greet my bright future. On April 12th, it will be exactly six years since a toxic partnership ended with an explosion of white light behind my eyes. My head smack against the wall, an egg-sized lump already forming. A landscape of black and blue where my body hit the floor. Terror, and pain. And nobody calling the cops.
It’s not the enlightened thing to say. I know this isn’t a contest. But here it is. Two words: I win.
I say “I win” and not “you lose” because loss is something I stopped wanting for you a long time ago. I didn’t think that would ever happen. I win, because I didn’t think I could ever love again, and I do. I didn’t expect happiness to come, and it did.
I won’t pretend to wish you well, because I’m not that nice a person (or maybe I’m just too honest). There was a time when I thought my healing was contingent on something horrible happening to you. Today it finally occurs to me that your fate is irrelevant. I win, even if you’re doing great.
I have a love now who meets me at the foot of the stairs to carry my bags when I can’t anymore. A love who keeps dinner warm when I’m home late from work. A love who shares pride at my successes, and sorrow at my defeats. There’s room enough here for us both to breathe and grow and change. I have finally found the freedom that I couldn’t have imagined six years ago. On April 12th, the walk down that aisle will be my victory march at last.