Chapter 1 - Neme

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Bad things happen to good people every day. Unimaginable crimes are committed all of the time. We just never expect them to happen to us. Aaron and I had only been married for two months when everything I thought I knew about life, love and happiness was taken from us.

"We opted for eloping the first weekend we could get away. Let's just say, we went the super cliché route and headed out to Vegas and The Little White Chapel. I have to admit although it was cheesy, it was so us. It was perfect. I always thought being married rather than just being a couple would change things for Aaron and me but it didn't." I pick at my cuticles and take a deep breath before looking back at Dr. Grandi.

"It's okay, Neme. Go on. Tell me more about you and Aaron." Her voice is smooth and calming. She's not judging. This is an unfamiliar feeling for me. Everyone has judged me since life as I knew it stopped.

I nod and continue. "We were still Aaron and Neme, in love. He was still the boy who could always make me laugh and I was the girl he still had a crush on. People say it doesn't stay like that forever. The new will wear off and so on but I never thought it would with us. We were different." I can feel my eyes burning and my heart aching. I want him back. "More than anything Aaron was my best and truest friend and I was his." I blink hard trying to push the tears away. "His happiness was the most important thing to me and that's what love should be about. It's not flowers, sex and romance. True love is shedding all judgment and clothing oneself in acceptance. It's not about tearing each other down, but building each other up." I lose the fight with the tears and Dr. Grandi leans forward across her desk handing me a tissue. I take it and blot my leaking eyes.

After I get my bearings about myself I finish. "I think the one thing that separated us from other couples was our transparency with one another. He knew all of my flaws and he'd shown me his. Even with knowing all about each other's broken pieces we were content to accept them. What held the pieces together was our want for the other to be happy. We called it happiness glue. When things got hard we were always able to glue the pieces back together." My chin quivers and my soul quakes with fury lined sadness. I look at Dr. Grandi as I allow my tears to freely fall. My voice is laden with grief as I speak. "Until...things were so broken happiness no longer existed. Aaron stopped existing. He was murdered and every ounce of happiness we had died with him. Now I only exist in the wake of it all."

Silence. I stop talking and Dr. Grandi doesn't say anything. We sit idly for what feels like forever and then she says, "I can tell you loved each other very much. I'm positive Aaron would want more for you than this. Grief is expected. It's natural. But, you have to learn how to live again. He would want that for you. I want that for you. Your mother wants that for you."

She mentions my mom and anger bubbles up in me. "She took their side. I'm her daughter and she took their side."

"She didn't take their side. You see her putting you in here as taking sides. I see it as her trying to protect you."

I glare at her. "She doesn't believe me just like everyone else. No one believes me!"

"You tried to run your car off the Edenville Bridge, Neme."

She's telling me this as if I don't know. I lived it. I know what I tried to do. "I'm not crazy. I don't belong in here." I lean forward and make sure she looks right into my eyes. "Wanting to die because my husband was killed, our unborn child was lost, my body was raped by a monster, my dignity stripped, and no one believing me about what really happened doesn't make me crazy. It makes me a damaged human being." My heart is thrashing in my chest from anxiety.

"No one is saying you're crazy, Neme."

I wave my hands around the room. "This is a mental hospital Doctor. It's full of crazy. I do not belong here." I stand up and turn my back to her. "I want to go back to my room. This is pointless. You're just like the rest of them."

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