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This memory is rated pg 16 due to graphic language and unpleasant pictures. Believe it or not, this is a romance story. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ Two hundred and Seventy seven days, that’s how many days of torture I have been through; how many days it has been since I held him or kissed him. It was also the last day I made love to him. I miss him, I need him and I am utterly lost without him. My first kiss was with him and the first school dance I attended I was on his arm. He was my high school sweet heart and I his; but it wasn’t always sweet. We’ll just say he wasn’t the valedictorian, he wasn’t even close. Middle school was not so bad, just the occasional skip here and smoke a cigarette in the bathroom there. Sometimes he would smoke pot before school and get caught by the principle because his clothes reeked of the stench, but that was just the beginning. I was no perfect angel either; I did most of those things with him. We were always together during school, after school, and on the weekends. We never got tired of each other, not like a lot of our friends would. So many times I watched my friend’s get their hearts broken and I also watched them break some as well. I didn’t understand it, how you could say you love someone one day then hurt them in the most awful way the next. I didn’t tell Dean I loved him for a long time, I think it was six months before I said those three little—but very precious—words. He actually said them first; it was very sweet seeing it was coming from him. Dean is tall, 6’4, and built very athletic, always has been. He never played sports or worked out to keep it that way, he just is. He has a very manly bravado about him and he makes sure everyone knows it. You wouldn’t expect him to be sitting next to his girlfriend down in the boondocks listening to My Best Friend by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in the back of his old F150 with a blanket wrapped around us. But he did, and he did it often. He told me he loved me around five months in, I think. We were in the back of his truck by the Columbia River that divides and follows Portland and Vancouver, then continues East and West for who knows how far. It was our spot—the boondocks— and I did not know what to say. I told him I wasn’t really sure what love meant. He was sweet about it and told me he didn’t want me to say it if it wasn’t true and that he wanted me to know that he did. I cried on his shoulder that night and he held me while we watched the sun set, promising us another day together.
I was his equal part, we got into trouble together, we were praised together and we had all the fun in the world together. Until the day I got put into Juvenile Hall. I had to stay in there for 22 days and my 14th birthday consisted of a round table in a locked box with my sister Vicki, my nephew Micah and my mom. The only thing I got was a king size Kit Kat and a 2 liter of Barqs Root Beer from one of the guards. Let’s just say I got a rude awakening and I took it for what it was. I never wanted to be put back into captivity again, I was determined to turn my life around and be the square girl I knew I could be. I told myself on many occasions, on many of the nights I stayed awake crying in my cell, that I was going to change. I was going to be serious about school, no more drugs and no more alcohol. It was easier said than done. When I got out and changed my habits, one thing didn’t change with me, Dean. He was mad more than happy for a long time. He is stubborn and pretentious but I love him with every ounce of my being. I cannot, no, will not imagine a life where he doesn’t exist. He is the air in my lungs, the beat of my heart and will forever be my one and only. I told myself that a lot during high school and that’s when things got bad. Dean started to drink heavily, and use drugs on a daily basis. He didn’t stop talking to me and I let him binge his life away. I could have said something but I didn’t want to feel like a hypocrite so I kept my mouth shut. I attended too many house parties and keggers to count on all my fingers and my toes and probably some of his and I didn’t even drink. But Dean was going with or without me and I wanted to be with him more than anything. It went on like this for all of ninth grade and half of tenth. I was growing tired of being his caretaker; that is pretty much what I was in those days. He would get so shit- faced drunk that he would be incapable of taking care of himself. All of his friends would be too high or too drunk themselves to do anything about it. Not that I needed their help to take care of him, it just shows they have no clue what friendship and love really means. By this point I knew and felt firsthand what love was; there was no doubt about that. I felt it every day in the way he made my face heat up every time he smiled his breathtaking smile, or every time he complemented me on how beautiful I was. I felt it in the way my body did unmentionable things when he held me close to him and the way my knees always seemed to buckle when he kissed me with passion. I was completely and unconditionally in love with Dean, but I couldn’t keep up with his antics anymore; I was exhausted. I’ll never forget the night I told him; it was the most frightening day of my life until 277 days ago.
We were at his house which was only six blocks from mine. His bedroom was in the basement. It wasn’t one of those nasty grungy half done basements; it was fully furnished with a bathroom and had its own entry. A lot of nights were spent in that basement; this night was going to be the last. That’s what I told him; unless he straightened up, I was leaving and never coming back. He did not take that well. I don't think it helped that he was piss drunk and jonesing for some sweet maryjane. To say he went ballistic would be an understatement. He threw things, yelled things that were very hurtful and said things that I never thought I would hear come out of his mouth. He called me a slut, even though he was the only person I had ever been with and he knew that. His parents came down after hearing the screaming. I was doing my fair share, but I had a right. I told him what he was doing to my grades and that I wasn’t going to let him take me down anymore. That I loved him but he wasn’t the same Dean I feel in love with and to come see me when he came back. He was ruining his life and basically killing himself right in front of me. What else was I going to do? I had to do something. The police took me home after they handcuffed Dean and transported him to juvy. I didn’t see him for two weeks and it was killing me. I didn’t know if he was okay, I didn’t know if he was going to be pissed when he got out, and I didn’t know if that was what I wanted or if I wanted to forget everything and go back to the way it was. Being without him those two weeks made me see how deep he had been carved into my being. I was almost sick when I thought about never being close to him again, or never smelling his tobacco liquor breath when he kissed me. The day after he got out was the happiest day of my life up until today; not even our wedding topped it. I didn’t go to see him get released, I hoped that he had time to think about the things I said and realize he needed to change. It wasn’t 22 days but it was long enough. He didn’t come to see me that day and I started to think that maybe he was taking a step in the wrong direction. I started to think that maybe he was that guy that goes to jail all of his life, has a few kids and misses their whole childhood because he can’t straighten up. That thought is what kept me from going to his house that night. I knew that if I did, my strength would diminish and all hope at staying strong would be gone the moment he took me in his arms. So I stayed home, crying myself to sleep because he didn’t come to see me. I almost didn’t go to school the next day; if he wasn’t there I wouldn’t know what to do. Even worse, if he was there. I went because it couldn’t be worse than not knowing at all.
I wouldn’t see him until lunch and I counted the minutes all the way down until the shrill sound emanated from the hall. The feeling that came over me when I saw him leaning against the lockers across from the door to my class could only be explained as adoration. The heavy feeling that had been looming over my heart was instantly lifted even before we made eye contact. He was looking at the ground as if he were guilty or being punished for something and all I wanted him to do was come and sweep me off my feet like he used to, before high school. Before all the drugs and alcohol pried him from my unbreakable grasp and took my heart along with him. He basically did just that. He lifted his head, showing me his swollen eyes and heart wrenching expression; he managed to invoke a small smile just for me. I went to him, not knowing what the future would bring, not knowing if his intentions were as devoted as my own, but one thing I knew for certain. A future that did not involve Dean was not a future I wanted to be a part of. I went to him, giving him my soul and every part of me and he gave me all that and much more. He told me he was ready for the change that was long overdue and that nothing was worth losing me. He said he was sorry for making life harder on me and for the way he acted two weeks earlier. Of course I forgave him; I couldn’t be me without Dean. The journey to recovery wasn’t an easy one but I stood next to him every step of the way. He relapsed a few times and I wasn’t mean but I told him the life we wanted didn’t include alcohol. For the next year and a half we struggled to get his grades up, get my parents to trust him again and to keep him away from anything that might send him over the edge. After a truck load of extra credit and a lot of sucking up to the teachers and staff Dean received his high school diploma. On graduation day we also celebrated 500 days completely drug and alcohol free—well minus your over the counter Excedrin. Dean asked me to marry him that night, in front of all our friends and family; we were 18 by this point. Looking back, those really were the best times of my life. When life tests you, pushes you to your breaking point, and beyond, those are the moments that mold you into the person you will become. Those moments make you stronger and prepare you for the long road ahead. Life is a challenge and we faced it head on and conquered it together. Graduation and the proposal weren’t the only things that happened on that day. That day gave us the future we have now. Our house in Vancouver Washington, right on the shore of the Columbia River that divides us and Portland Oregon. We are not what you would call wealthy but we live comfortably day to day.
It gets very lonely, my friends and family and his family visit me often, especially with the addition that is due to arrive in three days. The loneliness is the sacrifice I make for the many Dean is forced to make, that’s just part of being a military wife. Dean left for boot camp right after we got married. He said he didn’t want to go unless he knew I was taken care of if something were to happen to him. I preferred not to think like that. Today is the day he comes home from overseas, he has three months leave for the occasion. You see before he left those 277 days ago we made love for the last time for a long time and with it we got the surprise we have been waiting for. In just three days I am scheduled to deliver our daughter. We always said we would wait to have kids until after we were married; it’s like she was waiting all along for us to get it over with so she could be a part of our lives. I’ve been waiting at the Portland International Airport in this terminal for over an hour. Dean’s parents are waiting here with me along with a few of my own family members. “Are you feeling okay Sarah?” Oh, did I mention my name is Sarah: Sarah Fisher. “I am nervous as hell and my heart feels like it’s going to pound out of my chest. But…I think I’m good.” The plane arrived and was pulling into the dock. “Oh, Deanny is in that big metal bird,” his mother sang with excitement. She only added to my rickety nerves. I’ve gained a few pounds since the last time we saw each other; granted he has seen me over the webcam and watched me progress. Seeing me in the flesh is a lot different than seeing me through a camera lens projected onto a screen. This has been the longest we have been apart since we met; time changes things. “They’re coming off the plane,” his father whispered to his wife of 40 years. Old General is a military veteran, retired after 22 years in the service. He was the proudest father on the planet when Dean told him he had enlisted. My line of sight didn’t move from the door to the loading dock and my heart took off when people started to emerge from the bridge. My body sensed his presence, every ending of my nerves were on the fritz. When the crowd erupted and everyone rushed to the door my body reacted and I was out of my seat and pushing through all the close nit bodies. With one arm I protected my belly and with the other I pushed my way through until I finally saw him. He had his mother in his arms and she was crying profusely. He didn’t have a scratch on him; at least not on any part of him that I could see now. I stood, frozen to the floor watching as he embraced his mother and I yearned to be where she
was. He looked up from his mother as if I called out his name and he was looking at me with smoldering eyes. The tears fell over without warning, he was beautiful and he was alive. He came to me, and I saw the tears in his own eyes. I was complete, like I was void of half of me until now. “Sarah, I missed you so much. I thought of you every day,” he cooed into my ear as we held each other tight. He told me he loved me and that he hated every day we were apart. He told me I was beautiful and that I have never looked more stunning. He was utterly fascinated with everything about our daughter and it made me fall in love with him all over again. When he finally kissed me it was more powerful than I remembered. It was loving, tender and urgent; oh how I missed him. When he looked into my eyes he was glowing. He knelt down and put his hands on both sides of our baby. “Hi baby, daddy’s little girl.” This was by far the best day of my life as of yet. We have been through countless ups and downs in our relationship and if I could take any of it back I wouldn’t. All the times he was drunk and I took care of him only showed my love and devotion for him. All the times we laughed and cried only brought us closer together. All the times we were just together made us stronger as a couple. I could not be happier with the way our lives have ended up. Jessica Nicole Fisher was born on October 11, 2009 at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Vancouver Washington.