I'll Be the One
For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall graduate.
The senior Economics project is supposed to teach us about real life. Budgeting. Social classes. Careers. I was supposed to plan it all out with my school husband. I didn't plan on actually falling in love with him, too. But sometimes real life doesn’t go according to plans. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions and sacrifices for the person you love. That’s what marriage is about, right?
I’ve always known things before they happen. Nothing major, like lottery numbers, but it’s been pretty useful for things like playing football and dodging clingy girls. I’ve never been able to see my future. I didn’t think much about it, to be honest. Until second period, when she walked through the door. Falling in love with her unlocked something inside me. Those little things I know? Now they’re big things. Life-saving things. So who do I save? And at what cost? I made a vow to her.
For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.
I finally made it. I graduated nursing school, and I found the perfect job. Things were great until a tornado blew through the emergency room, turning my life upside down. I don’t know if I can ever go back to the way things were before. Tornado survivors have a choice to rebuild, or pack up and move away. I’m twenty-two, and I know that one day I want the American dream: a husband, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. But that’s the thing with rebuilding.
What happens when the next tornado hits? Will I be blown away again?
Adrenaline. It’s fueled me since I was thirteen. It’s what I discovered while I chased tornadoes across Oklahoma. It’s what I craved on combat missions in helicopters in Afghanistan. It’s what I lived for, until one day when everything changed. Now, adrenaline is my drug. It numbs me when the memories become too much to bear. It reminds me that I don’t deserve a wife, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. I’ve seen what tornadoes do to white picket fences. It’s ugly.
I’m the tornado. I’ve already destroyed one family. Don’t chase me.
Life is out to get me.
Humvee accident that took my right hand? Strike one.
Cancer three years later that stole my breasts and hair? Strike two.
An overbearing mother who seems to think I’m twelve, not twenty-seven?
Yeah, I’m out of there.
I thought moving to Oklahoma would give me a fresh start. I hoped life would finally cut me some damn slack. But between the inept people at the VA hospital and a boss who’s hell-bent on fixing me, I just want to be left alone. Haven’t I been through enough already?
Joining the Army and deploying to Afghanistan? Hard.
Kicking an alcohol addiction and starting a business combining fitness and mental health? Harder.
Worth it? Hell yes.
Battles, my gym, has been so successful that I hired a new employee—a veteran herself—to help me open a second location. And that’s when it all goes to hell. Everything I’ve ever stood for is called into question, and the one person I thought I could count on disappears. I’ve spent the last ten years helping everyone else. What happens when I can’t even save myself?