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Kiss the Bride

Image a shy, awkward young woman who sits quietly in the corner. No one sees her or pays attention to her. She is too scared to speak her mind or tell anyone what she truly feels or wants, fearing that they will laugh at her or decide she is not worth their time and pack up and walk away.


Yeah, that was me.


Creating strong bonds is almost impossible when you are too afraid to be you. For this reason, relationships were never my strong suit. No matter how hard I worked to build them, I found myself alone, longing for connection. It made me a sucker for a long time.


My husband, Shawn, remembers meeting me before I remember meeting him. He occasionally hung out with my brother when they were teens, but I don't recall. I first remember meeting him after high school when I moved in with an old boyfriend, Morgan.


Morgan had a roommate. He was this six-foot, arrogant, snooty, pretentious, smug, pompous ass. We did not mesh well. So, "not well," I drove him away, and he moved out. One point for me!


Our interactions after that were sparse; as fate would have it, things with Morgan didn't work out. Strangely, that would not be the last I saw of him. He and Shawn joined the Army, and I moved on.


I recall hearing from Shawn twice after that: once when he tried to collect the TV I had of Morgan's, which I refused to give up, and the other when he called me from Germany to say hello. I hung on to him.


Now that I think about it, Shawn was the first man I didn't care to impress, and it freed me to be a bitch to him.


A few years and boyfriends later, I celebrated the New Year at my big brother's place. Who happened to be there just getting out of the military? The dickhead I couldn't stand. It didn't please me. A few too many beers later, and one thing led to another. Happy New Year to me, right!


See what happens when you drink large amounts of alcohol?


I wish I could blame the next step of our evolution on alcohol, but I can't. I can, however, blame it on my big brother, just like my back and knee problems.


I did not know it when I went to the party, but Shawn was staying with my brother and his girlfriend. That was until his girlfriend "encouraged" him to kick Shawn to the curb after he paid his rent for the month. Who then gets a phone call saying, "I need you to take him in and let him stay with you cause I feel bad?" That's right, me!


Understand, though, we don't always get along. I love my brother, and I did not have it in me to say no and cause more issues for him. So, I took the bastard in, and he never left.


We married in 2002, and I haven't killed him yet, though I had made plans from time to time when he pisses me off. Don't worry; he knows because I tell him.


I'm not going to lie. It's been a rocky marriage, years 3-10, painstaking at times. We moved from Pennsylvania to Texas, then Texas to Oklahoma, where we settled, received custody of the children from his first marriage, whom I raised as my own, and bought a house.


You want me to tell you how great he is now. How I finally saw that special something I missed the first time. Well, you can forget it. He is still an asshole.


Despite his harsh and grumpy nature, Shawn did something no boyfriend ever did. He encouraged me to speak and stand up for myself. Something he sometimes regrets nowadays. He also allowed me and still allows me, to follow my path wherever it may lead, and I am so grateful for that because I know what a blessing it is, what a blessing he is, even though he is a Grade A Asshole who I often want to punch in the face. That's love; my life wouldn't be the same without him. Don't tell him that, though he might think I like him.

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