- Love and Marriageby Sasha
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Valerie and Richard's relationship develops.
A Leaf on the Wind
: Love and Marriage by Sasha
Painting by Author

Sexually abused as a child, forced to live with a family in total denial, Valerie desperately tries to find a quiet life void of the chaos and turmoil of her past. She finds this in the form of Richa

If you marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons, then no matter how hard you work, it's never going to work, because then you have to completely change yourself, completely change them, completely - by that time, you're both dead.

Anne Bancroft

Richard was a welcome change from the loud, obnoxious drunks I had become used to. He was intelligent, gentle, kind and very handsome.  I found his quiet nature soothing and very appealing.  I stopped going to the lounge, seldom drank, and when we were together, we talked about things that distracted me from the insane torment of my past and the love I still felt for Hugo.  We talked for hours about his hatred for the War in Vietnam, his passion for music, his mistrust of the Government, and his refusal to follow the crowd.  His lack of curiosity in finding out what interested me did not distress me.  I still hadn't discovered who I was, or had any idea of what I was interested in.  The world, and what it offered, remained foreign territory to me. 

The decision whether or not to tell Richard about Daddy was a battle that raged inside me.  In the end, not knowing if he would understand, or worse, that he would hate me if I told him, led me to choose silence over honesty.  The closest I came to talking about my father was to say, "My father and I don't get along."   Richard never asked why.

It was 1967 and hippies, drugs, and free love ruled.  Richard always wore blue jeans and casual shirt, loved to wear an old top hat, and seldom took off his sunglasses.  I was still too shy to wear tie-dye and had no interest in using  drugs.  However, I no longer worried about being a virgin, leaving me with one less secret to keep.  We were the perfect example of the expression, opposites attract.

Thoughts of Hugo lessened with each passing day, but my love for him remained constant.  My relationship with Richard was comfortably unemotional.  I liked him and he liked me. To my relief, love never entered the picture.

The only true love in Richard's life was music.  Cream, Led Zeppelin, Chicago and Jimmy Hendrix were just a few on his long list of favorites.  When a group came to town to perform a concert, Richard would camp out all night in front of Ticket Master to make sure he got a good seat.

I lived in Richard's shadow.  Without realizing it, I slowly put away my life and replaced it with his.  I only listened to music Richard liked, went to movies he liked, and read books he liked. After a year together, Valerie had almost completely disappeared.  All that remained of me were the occasional nightmares, fading memories of a lost love, and dark secrets never to be spoken a loud.
** *
"Valerie, lets get married."

The only thing more surprising than his unexpected question, was my answer, "Yes, let's get married"

In November of 1969, I became Mrs. Richard Hernandez. My transformation was complete. Valerie disappeared , and in her place stood a devoted wife, determined to put her past behind her, and start a new life, free of torment.


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Author Notes
Valerie's need to forget her past gives way to her willingness to transform herself into what she thinks Richard wants.


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