National Anthem: Memoirs of Esme Cullen
"And I remember when I met him, it was so clear that he was the only one for me. We both knew it, right away. And as years went on, things got more difficult and we were faced with more challenges. I begged him to stay. Try to remember what we had at the beginning.
He was charismatic.
And everybody knew it.
When he walked in, every woman's head turned, everyone stood up to talk to him. He was like this hybrid, this mix of a man who couldn't contain himself. I always got the sense that he became torn between being a good person and missing out on all of the opportunities that life could offer a man as magnificent as him.
And, in that way, I understood him. And I loved him. I loved him, I loved him, I loved him. And I still love him. I love him."
~Lana Del Rey ("National Anthem" - 2012)
Carlisle Cullen was a perfect man. At least, on the outside. He knew how things went, and he knew how to make them right if they weren't perfect.
Carlisle was very successful, extremely smart, and devastatingly handsome. When he entered the room, everybody wanted to talk to him. He was mesmerizing, charming, and unforgettable.
Carlisle was a busy, important man. He was the founder of a massive car company, and he had people sold. Carlisle always knew what to do. He was so smart.
Carlisle had also cared a lot for his family. He'd made me, Esme Cullen, happy to be his wife. He'd made sure that our three young children - Edward, Rosalie, and Emmett - always had enough to eat, a wide selection of clothes, and an endless list of things to do, whether we were out as a family (which was rare), or if they were with the nanny (which was often). Money was the reason we were okay. Money was the anthem of success.
However, there was something - something important - that I sensed wrong in our marriage. It was the summer of sixty-three when I'd found something wrong. Edward was seven, Rosalie was six, and Emmett was five. I'd accused Carlisle of cheating, because I knew that he was. This wasn't the first time I'd accused him of something, and this wasn't the first time I'd begged him to stay with me and the kids. This wasn't the first time that I'd tried to make him remember what we'd had, what had brought us here in the first place.
When we'd first met, the stars must have been aligned. He was the only one for me, and that was as clear as day. But, it seemed as if Carlisle hadn't wanted to remember when we'd first met. He'd continued to push me away when nobody was watching, and I'd helped him continue pretending that everything was okay. We'd had an image to maintain here in Chicago. Looks were everything.
The rest of nineteen sixty-three and sixty-four were harder than the other years. From the outside, everything looked fine. Everything looked splendid, rich, and perfect. So untainted. Carlisle and I had looked so comfortable in front of everyone, and so in love. Yet, we'd gotten home from all the wining and dining, and I'd went to sleep continuing to wonder what had went wrong. Maybe another woman wasn't the problem with Carlisle and I. Maybe it was me.
The fabulous life that Carlisle and I led should have made me happy, but it didn't. I didn't want more from him; I wanted him to be honest with me. When I questioned him, he'd changed the subject and suggested we go out for the dinner, or take the kids to the park. He'd never wanted to face the truth.
Carlisle was an inspiration to everybody. Everybody but me.
Over the years, we overcame our problems. We were faced with more of the typical challenges. but everything was okay in the end. However, it was in the winter of nineteen sixty-nine when I was faced with a problem that not even Carlisle could help me fix. That was a first.
I'd gotten pregnant again.
I'd also had a miscarriage.
There were plenty of things I'd considered doing to myself to numb myself from the pain. The words Carlisle had used to describe my ideas were always along the lines of silly and unthinkable. I was heartbroken. I was even sadder for weeks.
But in a way, he was right. I'd only realized this way later. If I killed myself, it would have shattered our family's pretty little lives in an instant.
So I went along with what he'd said. My ideas really were stupid. It wouldn't represent the Cullen family very well. Our picture-perfect image would be devastated.
When spring had sprung, I'd thought things were looking up. I'd thought that I would be okay. I'd thought that everything would be fine again. Carlisle, the kids, and I still looked untarnished in the eyes of every outsider. We were living the American dream. Our family was a utopia to the outsiders. If we hadn't looked this great, something was wrong and Carlisle had had it fixed. Just like always.
The summer air was hot and vibrant as Carlisle and I were presenting a brand new model of a car. When Carlisle had talked, everyone stopped whatever they were doing and listened. He was that powerful. Everybody was dead silent as I stood next to him as he presented the beautiful silver car. When he was finished, everybody applauded him.
It had almost happened in slow motion. To this day, I could still remember my senses exactly. I'd heard the gunshot. I'd felt one of my children grab onto my legs. I'd seen the bullet go straight through Carlisle's head. I'd gasped and dropped to my knees. Screams filled the air.
Carlisle was most definitely dead.
I'd never forget the last time I saw him.
I loved Carlisle. I loved him so much, through the thick and the thin. We'd been through a lot, and above all, I understood him. I knew the pressures of what he was going through, because I had been there with him, the entire time.
It was heartbreaking how things could have been so stainless and so impeccable, and one event demolished everything. Every little thing.
Carlisle Cullen was a perfect man. And my perfect life, along with his, was over.
And I continued to love him. I did.