In a short, numbingly awkward ceremony in Washington this morning, America married her openly abusive partner of the past year, Donald Trump.
‘She actually went through it,’ was the sickened thought of anyone who had ever cared about her, believed in her, or held out hope that she’d find her best self.
The marriage comes on the heels of a brief, tempestuous engagement, news of which stunned friends and family of the feisty, independent young nation state.
‘We always knew she was impetuous,’ said her paternal figures. ‘She’s always been that way - likes to keep you guessing, likes to do things her own way. But we just thought she had more self-respect than this.’
‘That man was awful to her,’ they added, choking up. ‘That’s my baby.’
Since the couple began dating on and off over the course of the past year, those close to America were shocked and deeply dismayed to find that the relationship was marked by abuse. Trump openly mocked and belittled her values, her achievements, and the sacrifices she’d made to get where she was, claiming that she’d let herself go and that her best days were long behind her.
‘He called her old, bloated, and ugly,’ said a family friend. ‘He made fun of her constantly. He’d keep dropping hints that she should get some work done. He even started insulting her friends, telling her she should cut them out of her life and get new ones.’
This wasn’t the kind of behavior anyone close to her would have imagined she would tolerate. But systematically, Trump was able to break down her support system, and eventually, her very sense of self. Then, with feelings of inadequacy nursed to a poisonous bloom, he insinuated himself as the only person who’d stoop to help her.
By the end, even some of America’s most intimate relations found themselves blaming her for letting herself be so completely victimized.
‘I’m done with her,’ said one old friend (and failed suitor) venomously. ‘If she wants to go and marry a guy who treats her that way, I’m glad I never got mixed up with her.’
The toxic mix of emotions among her many well-wishers explains the distinctly funereal tone of what should have been a uniquely celebratory moment in America’s life. A grey, drizzly day seemed to match the mood of the few closest friends who bothered to attend. The ceremony itself was perfunctory, the customary benedictions profoundly at odds with the couple’s fractured relationship. Their vows were turgidly short, his gracelessly pitched towards dismissing the person she is and making her into something she never was.
Many friends seemed particularly concerned at where this leaves her going forward.
‘America is so amazing, and she’s been through so much,’ said a loved one. ‘I mean, in a way, she’s so amazing because she’s been through so much. And at a time in her life when she should be trying at last to be happy, to take care of herself like she deserves, she’s doing this.’
Sighing at the couple as they cut the cake, America’s wedding guests drained their glasses, met eyes, and silently agreed to hit the bar now and skip the dancing.