Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day 70 The Non-Anniversary

Tim and I were hanging out at a friend's house. The friend and I had been dating for a few months but things were cooling off between us. I was 17 and a high school senior. I was coasting through life before I left for college. A few weeks earlier I had seen Tim with a POW bracelet he had picked up in basic training. Being "cute" I had taken the bracelet and started wearing it. He didn't ask for it back so I kept it.

There was something about having it with me that was very comforting about having it. Those who know Tim, know that he has a "bear" type personality. His continence is one of protectiveness. Having his bracelet somehow included me in his protective bubble - even though we weren't dating at the time. The bracelet meant the world to me and I would only take it off to shower. That thing stayed with me like an infant's pacifier. 

On this particular day we were hanging around and talking. My friend would alternately work on his computer and join the conversation. At one point Tim left the room - and then all hell broke loose. I don't know what happened. A movement or a phrase. I just don't know. But whatever it was started my landslide. I had my first ever, full blown, panic attack. I could only see a pitch black room and had this sense of being terrified. I kept feeling like I had to fight, I couldn't breathe. I thrashed around so much that I managed to dislodge the slats on the bed that held up the mattress. In some respects that was good because the fall helped me to realize that I was in my friend's room at mid day with bright sunlight streaming through the windows. Where ever my mind had been it had been it was back now. Sort of. I was still feeling panicky even though I knew neither of the guys would ever hurt me intentionally.

I only remember clips after the bed fell in. At some point my friend left the room. To go get Tim? To give me time to calm down? I don't know. I distinctly remember being alone in the room. And feeling like a complete fool. I couldn't believe I had behaved like that. Hitting, screaming, I must have lost my mind. And they definitely wouldn't want someone as unstable as me hanging around. 

I slipped the bracelet off my wrist and left it on the dresser, with a note. 

I don't deserve this.

I mentally said my goodbyes, figuring that I would just disappear from their lives. Not like kill myself, just who wants to be friends with a person does what I did. Admittedly I wasn't thinking to clearly and at the time I didn't even know what a panic attack was, let alone that I was having, or is that had, one. I was scared and defeated at having ruined yet another friendship. Two actually. So I quietly left. 

I don't know where the guys were but I managed to leave without anyone noticing. At least not at first. Some inner sense told me to turn up a road that led away from my house. Shortly after I heard voices and hid. Because they assumed I was heading home, the guys never looked up the street to where I was hiding. 

I waited for them to pass and then walked back down the street towards home. At the intersection I checked to make sure the coast was clear. I dreaded getting yelled at for my behaviour. Not that either of them had ever yelled at me before, but then I had never acted like that before either. 

After a few blocks I was pretty sure that they had given up the hunt, so I was surprised hear my friend's car drive up behind me. Crap. I decided to stop and let them yell at me rather then have them slowly follow me home. 

Tim got out of the car and grabbed my hand. I had no idea what he was going to do but something told me he wasn't going to hit me. By all accounts I should have been scared. But my inner sense usually wins which is why I sometimes do things that seem really irresponsible or dangerous. 

Anyway, he grabbed my hand and held it. I waited for the "talking to" that I was surely going to get. It never came. He put the bracelet back on my hand and simply said,

"I'll tell you when you don't deserve it." 

To be honest I don't remember much of what happened after that moment because I think shock took over again. What I do know is that, despite everything that had happened, he still wanted to be friends. More than friends. From that day forward we were officially, well, "We." 

Years later when he proposed, I had one stipulation. I wasn't going to be a June bride. We planned for a fall wedding when his tour of duty ended. But then the government decided to downsize and Tim was told he would be given an Honorable Discharge. 

In April. 

He would be leaving for his new job in CT and I would still be in VA trying to plan a wedding. Not happy. 

We decided to try to move the wedding up. My mother had offered to make the wedding dress and the bridesmaids dresses and the cummerbunds and the flower girls dress. (I was the first to get married and she got a little over excited) When she heard that we wanted move the date she put her foot down and said she needed at least 6 months to get everything together. 

This put our date squarely into the month of June. <insert eye roll> I was still not happy. Until Tim reminded me of that day. The day that we officially started dating. The day he gave me the bracelet back. June 1, 1990. I immediately loved the idea. If I have to be a June bride then we'll get married on the first. 

The wrinkle in that plan was that June 1, 1993 was a Tuesday. Why do these things always happen to me? Really. I must have been really horrible in a previous life because this was really not working out in my favor. Begrudgingly I allowed it to be moved to the following Saturday - June 5. But in my heart I knew, that our anniversary, the day we individually started to be a "we", was June 1. 

So every year we celebrate our anniversary on June 1st. Even though the paperwork says June 5th. This is also why I can legitimately state that this is our 25th anniversary even through we've only been married 22 years. 

And now you know.