First choice

I lay in bed all day. I cannot eat. I cannot watch TV. I avoid social media at all costs.

It is May 7, 2016. The day he is getting married.

I don’t love him but my heart aches with a pain I cannot understand. I imagine the venue, the people, his suit, her dress. I am sad and joyful all at once. I know redemption is approaching.

My brain feels like it is underwater. I’m swimming in darkness. It is 3:30p when I hear a still, quiet voice that says It is done. Get up and clean yourself.

I muster my way out of bed and take a shower. My body aches. I can barely stand. I climb out of the shower and collapse at the foot of my bed. I bury my head in my hands and cry deep, throaty tears.

I don’t understand why I am crying but I feel the presence of Jesus hold me. I have never experienced God quite like this. I am close to the brokenhearted.

I cry out and ask God for something I have never asked before. I ask to be my husband’s first choice.

God whispers quietly in my ear. Emily, you have schizophrenia. It’s time to get help.

In a moment of clarity, I know it’s true.

The week moves fast and slow. Within a week’s time, I receive the diagnosis.

His wedding is my redemption.

***

My stomach turns when he says that it is a miserable existence to spend a lifetime trying to prove everyone wrong.

I know this is my driving force behind marriage. I want to prove I am not the woman they claimed me to be.

You will never learn. You will continue to hurt people. I don’t think you’re capable of change.

If I get married, I think to myself, I will prove that I am a changed person.

But that’s not the right reason to get married.

I repent immediately.

***

I cry out loud at the audacity of it all. Even in my fantasies, I am never someone’s first choice. There is always some pleading, some begging. Even in my fantasies, I am not worth the pursuit.

Let me write your love story. Let me write the story better than you imagine it to be. Do you not know that after everything we have been through together, that I want more for you than you could even ask for?

I wrestle with the words.

I am not worthy of that gift, God. I whisper back.

That’s not the point, Emily.

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