So there I was, a new mother at 17-
I celebrated a birthday in August prior to Joshua being born in November. I have always internalized things, thoughts, feelings until there was a sort of explosion from deep within and usually completely unrelated to any real thoughts or feelings. Like a cup of spilled milk.
I began really picking up my conversations with Bruce, the now 29 year old lover in Virginia. I didn’t want to live in my mother’s house and try to navigate my own way around motherhood. At the time I was full of raging teenage hormones, pregnancy hormones, and left over body image issues.
Of course I didn’t know that at the time. There was no reasoning with me. Bruce was coming to get me and take me back to Virginia, back to an apartment he had secured for us and the only condition I set was that I be married. He agreed. My mother had to sign an agreement with the courts giving me permission to do this and I don’t remember much about those conversations except that she reluctantly agreed.
I often wonder what I would have done if she hadn’t. Would I have left anyway? Pursued something else? I’ll never know. I picked my wedding dress from a store in the mall popular for selling prom dresses. The irony didn’t strike me then. It does now, as I’m writing this.
I am thinking “what a fool little girl” to myself over coffee.
A prom dress.
What a grown up thing to do.
How mature of me.
And my mother bought it. I can’t even imagine what was going through her head at the time. I’ll have to ask her.
I bought my dress, asked my grandmother’s long time neighbor and friend to marry us. She was a notary and also agreed. I was married in my grandmother’s garden. I can’t even remember the date. I have the records in a box, the date is there somewhere. But I can’t recall it. My mother let us go back to her house after the wedding for our honeymoon. I remember stopping at a roadside carnival off 441, In my dress, riding the rides, like a fool with my 29 year old husband. My knight in shining armor didn’t have a white horse or even a white car. It was an old beige 1970 something Dodge Dart, it had cans and silly string attached courtesy of my family trying to make this seem as normal as possible.
My mother kept Josh for the night at my grandparents. I realize now they were soaking up as much of him as they could because God only knew when I would return. I had no friends at my wedding. I had given up on such things. I was a wife and mother now. I was on my way to belonging.