Three days later, I hopped on a party bus, killed a Budweiser and watched my sister get married to her best friend. From the front aisle, my mother mouthed me instructions: "Take your glasses off! Pick up her train! Don't look at the baby, she'll want to come to you!"
I smiled anyway. The pain was mostly gone, although I credit its' disappearance to the painkillers and adrenaline, not a speedy recovery. My sister and my brother in law said their vows, they kissed, they kissed again, people clapped, and a-ha! A marriage was made.
Three days before this, I didn't think I wouldn't make it. I knew I would. I would have signed myself out if I was told to stay in. I mostly felt guilty; after years of planning, it had come down to the week of the wedding, and I'm hospitalized. For the first time in 370 days.
The two nights I spent on the inside were awful, but they always are. Everyone did their best to maintain a veneer of calm, but I knew I was scaring the shit out of everyone. I so desperately wished that I could assauge their fears, but the Dilaudid clung to my tongue, and I was speechless and stoned.
On Halloween, I begged for an early release and it was granted; we put Sadie in her zebra costume and took a walk in the neighborhood. And on November 2nd, we had the party of the year.
It was truly the best night of my life. Everything came together seamlessly: I had a fun date, my friends were there with me, my cousins and family smiled, and we all danced together in one, happy, sweaty pack on the floor. I delivered my speech and people laughed.
And I saw outside myself.
I saw outside this haze that I've been living in for years. And when I cleared the windows of my bubble, I saw love. I saw family and joy and bad music. I saw hope and happiness.
It felt so real to me, more than any of the misery I've known these past couple of years.
It felt so possible.
It was astounding, in its' strength. In its' width. In the sheer enormity that was that feeling, that was that night.
It was perfect.
And I felt renewed. And I had a bad week after but I've had only good weeks since. I've looked outside myself and wanted more than what I have. I deserve more. This shelter has too many walls, and I want to break them down.
I head to Hawaii on Saturday. I'm hoping to make it to Vietnam in May. I am dreaming again, and when I do...
I see it all.